Cala Art Gallery: ‘Bread & Water’ by Farid Fadel
Born in 1958, Farid Fadel was lucky enough to inherit the three talents that his family is famous for. Not only is he an award winning artist, but he is a practising eye doctor and an esteemed, dedicated musician; a true renaissance man. A collection of his latest work, titled ‘Bread and Water’ is being exhibited at Zamalek’s immaculate Cala Art Gallery.
Inspired by the recent economic and political problems in Egyptian society, Fadel sends an important and powerful message through his work. Because of such a decline, it is now more important than ever to become self-sufficient. The presence of both hunger and poverty is becoming more widespread and should be addressed urgently by the current government. Fadel also notes how the Nile – the main source of water for Egypt – needs to be safeguarded from the pollution it is being plagued with.
The exhibition is made up of a large number of paintings, the majority of which use oil paint on canvas or wood. Fadel attempts to capture the beauty of the simple things in life, namely bread, water and air; the fundamentals for human survival.
One of the first paintings we spotted was a modern day image of an Egyptian bread vendor, balancing his produce on top of his head whilst riding a bike; a talent we often marvel over on a daily basis. On the shining, golden background, several, hieroglyphic images of bread makers can be seen, working in crop fields. Real stems of wheat are used, adding a 3D element to the painting which was almost impossible not to touch. This piece was accompanied by a small piece of writing in which the artist describes his longing for the days when strategic planning safeguarded the population from famine. His nostalgia maintains the important undertone of the exhibition.
In another piece, Fadel captures the dismay of a beggar, sitting with his hand out; a regular occurrence on the streets of Cairo. It’s title, ‘Where is the Bread?’ certainly pulled some heart strings.
The vivid colours Fadel uses in these paintings instantly grabbed our attention, whilst the accuracy of human features and portrayal of emotion was mesmerising. Many of his other pictures illustrated and celebrated scenes from the daily life of traditional Egyptians; women and girls fetching water on their heads, as well as arrangements of simple meals, for example.
One piece titled ‘Bread, Water and Foul’ was a beautiful still-life drawing of a basic, traditional Egyptian meal – one which most take for granted. Another, ‘Bread of the Princess’, portrays a young girl balancing a pile of bread on her head, seemingly grinning and giggling towards the viewer. In fact, the majority of the figures in the paintings were exuding a sense of happiness; a reminder that good health and positivity go a long way, no matter what the situation.
His beautiful depictions of boat trips on the Nile at sunset muster up both a sense of calm and a longing for the Nile to be as soothing as it is represented. The site of the Nile as we know it, however, is altogether different, particularly in Cairo.
Farid Fadel is undoubtedly an incredibly talented artist who has used his striking pieces to spread a very important, emotive message, particularly relevant to the issues faced by Egypt today.