‘Colony: Latitude’ at Gypsum Art Gallery
5 Ibrahim Naguib St., Ground Floor, Apt. 2
Discreetly hidden in Garden City’s green and tranquil aesthetic is the glorious Gypsum Art Gallery; a beautiful simplistic space currently hosting Latitude – an exhibition by, Shady El Noshokaty, that is part of a bigger project from the contemporary Egyptian artist called Colony.
‘The exhibitions is characterised most by a unique style of intricate drawing, with some pieces represent an architectural approach, while others show more abstract elements; the two different styles coming together produce something quite curious, complicated yet inevitably precise.
Born in Damietta, Egypt in 1971, El Noshokaty is one of Egypt’s most prominent and important contemporary artists, known for contributing to the development of art education and for advocating for the new generation of young artists. El Noshokaty earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Helwan University in Cairo in 1994, where he also became a professor of media arts and received his PhD in Philosophy of Art Education in 2007. He is also an Associate Art Professor at the American University in Cairo’s Visual Arts department.
One of the pieces exhibited shows various circles, octagons and lines drawn onto what appears to be graph paper. The piece suggests a mathematical approach to drawing especially with the usage of biro pen and coloured pencils.
Another piece, further into the gallery, shows a pencil drawing on graph paper; an interesting geographical piece which seems to be excerpt from a world map – possibly the map of the United States. Two thirds of the piece is shaded in grey and the bottom is white; an intricate piece raising questions on why it seems to be unfinished.
The terms ‘Colony' and Latitude’ evokes several connotations; the word 'Colony' implies a collection of something, whereas ‘Latitude’ has two meanings which could both apply within this collection of work. The first is the angular distance of a place from the Earth’s equator; the second is the scope for freedom of action and thought. Though the drawings feature a large amount of precision and measurement, El Noshokaty also adds a sweep of colour, emphasising a subversive element of openness which does not go unnoticed.
Overall, the exhibition is not what you would call a particularly colourful or vibrant one; it’s definitely more suited for those who have an interest in diagrams, architecture and technical drawing. Nonetheless, so precise and unique is the collection that poses many questions as to the meaning behind the work and that is exactly what makes it a successful and intriguing exhibition.