Art is the ultimate form of visual self-expression, and just in time for International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating the work of 10 Egyptian painters. From abstract to portraits, and beyond, take a look at a collective who use art to defy stereotypes below.
“Women in Egypt are respected, but it’s still a male-dominated society. Freedom means that I should not be put in a specific system of expectations, so it’s possible that I paint nudes because I want to show off the beauty of women, and I separate religion from the discussion,” said Eman Osama. She wants people to judge her art, not her gender.
Fatma has won numerous awards, and she currently teaches at the University of Fine Arts. Most of her work is delicate, revolving around flowers and trees, and the preferred medium that she uses is charcoal.
Check out her Facebook page here.
Sahar El Amir
“My art philosophy is primitive, and I try to simplify my art by removing and not adding. Whether the viewer understands or not, it’s up to them, but they should also make an effort to digest art,” said Sahar El Amir.
“I value the presence of women in nature,” said Nahed Shaker. Her art embodies the beauty of female features through portraits, as well as abstract paintings that let the viewer’s perception freely explore the hidden feminine elements in them. “Women have the power to give birth, which is why I feel like Mother Nature relates to females, and I hope my work can pay homage to the women of the universe.”
Formerly a plastic surgeon, Heba Hussein’s background helps her focus her time and emotion onto the canvas, the same way she did with real features. She believes that beauty is power, and her art shows the vulnerable side and depth beyond the glamorous surface.
“My art is inspired by my meditation, dreams, and my perception of the world. I work in soft pastels mainly, but I also use mixed media. The aim of my art is to arouse a sense of wonder and meditation, and to have a wider look on the universe, and all of our connections to it,” said Halla Shafey. Her current gallery kicks off from the 8th of March for 3-4 weeks at Nile Gallery.
Check out her Facebook page here.
“I’ve been painting since I was five years old, so I always knew that it would be my career. My art used to be very colourful, but now, I’m more of an expressionist. I use art to say things I cannot; for example, I can read a book, and then paint my perception of it. There are specific characters like Dalida that I felt like I relate to and has a similar style to mine,” said Carelle Homsy. She relies on ideas that she gets, without trying to imitate, in order for her to remain original. She started to get political since 2009, shortly before the Egyptian revolution, and she tries to seek positivity to change people’s perspectives to the better.
“I have a project that blends portraits with abstract by painting maps with human faces in them. I’ve always been influenced by European art, so I started to travel and found the differences between the East and the West. The African culture is apparent in everything from clothes, accessories, to features and mannerisms,” shares Soad Abdelrasoul. She received a Master’s Degree that was based on the effects of war on Egyptian photography in the 20th century, and her PhD delved into the philosophy between the East and the West.
Iman Afifi has mainly displayed her work in the Gulf for over a decade, then started to showcase her work in Egypt over the past couple of years. She organises galleries every year at the Hanager Arts Center for a group of art enthusiasts.
Britt Boutros Ghali
Britt may not be Egyptian-born, but she married an Egyptian, resides in Cairo, and considers the country her home. She showcases her art across the country, and she spends her daily life in her studio overlooking the river Nile. “I was very impressed by women in Egypt, especially during the revolution, so I painted many portraits of them. Now, I’m back to my abstract world, and sometimes I’ll paint using acrylic and oil,” said Britt.