Sign in using your account with
Nile Art Gallery: Summer Exhibition
The month of August sees most Cairo galleries host their annual summer exhibitions, often bringing together the best of the year's previous exhibitions. Zamalek's often forgotten Nile Art Gallery is doing exactly that with a dazzling collection of paintings, drawings and prints. The gallery itself is beautifully set-out. with clean, laminate flooring and excellent lighting throughout.
The first painting we were drawn to was by Syrian artist, Suheil Baddour; a gigantesque portrayal of two women playing a flute-like wind instrument. Baddour has had thirty-five solo exhibitions around the world in countries like Spain, France and USA and the piece is taken from his exhibition at Nile Art gallery earlier this year, 'The Silence of the Music'.The colours are vivid and the shapes bold, though the two figures lack detail showing his interests lie in the human form, shape and the effect of colour
Adjacent to this painting is a mixed-media creation by Nadia Wahden depicting the profile of a woman against a background of leaves and plants. The artist even uses a white cotton to create the tiny plants and flowers in her hair, elaborating on the softness and delicate essence of the woman. The soft turquoise and sugar pink colours dictate the overall tranquil and empirically feminine mood; it's a delicate, soft and beautiful.
Another artist who focuses on the female form is Salah El Meligy, who has several paintings displayed. One depicts a woman with birds almost forming a crown around her head; yet with the form of the woman, the scene gives a sense of freedom. El Meligy, born and raised in Suez, is said to be inspired by the many seagulls and birds in the area. The colours are soft, as are the lines used to create the female form.
The largest and perhaps most eye-catching painting in the gallery is by Samer Hussein; showing a girl lying on her back, the hair, face and shoulders are detailed, yet the lower body is merely a white outline similar, dare we say, to a chalk outline at a crime scene. It represents something missing; something taken away or fading, perhaps. The colours used by Hussein are quite light, except for the female's dark brown hair and the red material she is laying on. This strong contrast in colours creates a balanced effect for the overall composition.
The prints by Marwa were also quite extraordinary, with immense photographic details; the monotonic colours create an almost ghostly feel particularly. The frames around them add a personal and almost homely feel.
As a whole, this is a delightful exhibition and one that features one of the most eclectic collections among the several summer exhibitions across Cairo.
While the late Inji Efflatoun has become known for her colourful paintings, Safar Khan Gallery’s current exhibition shines a light on Efflatoun’s ink-on-paper collection, ‘Freedom After Prison’. Utilising the chosen materials through different techniques, Efflatoun created a diverse collection of sketches, which depicts life in the Egyptian countryside.
In some of the paintings, Efflatoun used staccato pen strokes to form the scene. One of them is ‘Rest Time’, in which the artist drew the masses of resting workers, adding a touch of detail here and there to break the detachment of the outlines.
On the other hand, other paintings boast a flowing outline, especially the ones including palm trees and greenery. In one of the best pieces in the exhibition, Efflatoun not only studies the form of palm leaves, but she also adds a creative touch to this simple form, filling the thin outline of the element with waves of ink, using the wide tip of a black marker.
Merging between the previous two techniques, Efflatoun drew a number of scenes that portray the dwellings of the peasants. For example, in one of the paintings, the artist used a continuous outline to draw the houses, while pen strokes were used to form the shape of other details, like palm trees or straw ceilings. Where necessary, Efflatoun used the wide tip of the marker for creating shades.
Though the different shades of ink are dominant in this exhibition, the gallery shows four paintings in colour, three of which are by Efflatoun herself and the fourth is by the exhibition’s guest of honour, the late Taheya Halim.
While two of Efflatoun’s were placed in near the front desk, making it difficult for the viewer to have a close look at them under the stares of the curators, the third, which portrays the artist while working in a simple set of brush strokes, is placed amidst the other ink paintings. However, being the guest of honour, Halim’s Painting, which depicts a Nubian couple seated on a bench, is centred on the wall facing the entrance.
And whether in colours, or merely painting using ink, ‘Freedom After Prison’ is sheer proof of the artist’s brilliant ability to create animated paintings using different mediums.