Al Masar Gallery: ‘The Nile – A River of Continuous Inspiration’ by Mohamed Omar Khalil.
In the heart of Zamalek, an area well populated with art and art fanatics, is the spacious and exquisite Al Masar Gallery. Currently celebrating its seventh anniversary, Al Masar Gallery presents an exhibition by contemporary artist, Mohamed Omar Khalil. Born in 1936 in Burri, near Khartoum; he lived in the United States since 1967 though with hard work, passion and dedication he has managed to hold his exhibitions all over the world including Kuwait, Jordan and Morocco.
The exhibition, titled ‘The Nile – A River of Continuous Inspiration’, is Khalil’s first solo exhibition in Egypt, and drew in a massive crowd of art enthusiasts that flooded the premises of Al Masar during the opening night. Upon entering the space, we were surprised by the sheer amount of large and diverse creations Khalil had made filling up every wall and every space. Despite this though, it didn’t feel cluttered, but rather pleasing and deliciously alluring.
Studying and admiring his art, one would best describe it as powerful, aggressive and forceful yet at the same time it presents itself as a memoir. His pieces deal with political issues which is apparent from the newspaper cuttings; photos of presidents and other famous people plus the material in which they were created upon. Khalil does not use canvas as a foundation like most artists, instead he uses wood cut to a large size which creates the idea of protesting in the street like plaques and billboards meant for statements.
Oum Kalthoum is a frequently used icon in his work and a symbol of contemporary Egypt. This body of work stands as a recollection of the artist’s memories of Egypt along with his original homeland Sudan entwined within. The great thing about Khalil’s exhibition is that many viewers can recognise and associate with it; this is one of the interesting things about Pop Art. Pop Art uses iconic images that people can recognise and understand therefore feel a part of the exhibition; it’s almost like looking through an old photo album, full of memories though in this case it is a part of history in which we have lived.
The opening ceremony also featured a heavenly musical performance on the harp plus delicious servings of snacks, desserts and fresh juices. The exhibition by Mohamed Omar Khalil is a truly elegant and enjoyable event and an honour for Cairo.