Ebdaa Gallery: ‘Readings in Visual Art’ Group Exhibition
Highlighting the undeniable talent born out of the city, art exhibitions in Cairo are a mixed bag of diversity and vibrancy. Showcasing three Egyptian artists, Mostafa Ahmed, Gamal Mahmoud and Hamdy Khamis, Zamalek’s Ebdaa Gallery presents ‘Readings in Visual Art’. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Mahmoud Abou El-Magd’s work could not be shown at the exhibition.
Contrasting in both design and colour, the collections are split into three obvious sections. Each artist has his own, unique style, each compiling a range of mixed media pieces with running themes tying the pieces together. The information leaflet available was written solely in Arabic.
Engrossed in psychology, Hamdy Khamis’ artworks are the most colourful and visually intriguing; depth and texture have been created through the use of 3D materials. One mustard yellow piece resembles a maze, with lines of metal nails hammered into the canvas. In a neighbouring piece, in a similar pattern, the same nails are laid flat, almost appearing as messy etchings from afar. Another piece, slightly different from the others, was built on a background of powder blue, red and black squares, serving as frames to copper coloured circles studded with lines of nails.
Motivated by cultural influences, Gamal Mahmoud uses earthy tones and textured backgrounds in his abstract portraits. Arguably a repetitive collection, cartoonish figures are placed on busy backgrounds, subtly blending in with similarly coloured settings. In one of his more brightly coloured creations, cardboard is used as the base of an image of a veiled woman riding a horse through a forest of palm trees. The yellow, blue, red and green hues emanate a jollier feeling than those using darker colours. Another, oil on cardboard piece features a group of women carrying water vessels on their heads, whilst the etchings on their gowns and sandy coloured background have a distinctly ancient Egyptian vibe.
Taking inspiration from all around him, Mostafa Ahmed regularly used wispy strokes and blending techniques in his paintings, creating a slightly haunting aura. A little hard to decipher, one piece prominently features a bright moon, set above a scene where pick axes are leaning against stumps of wood. A double set of small paintings show featureless, statue-like women standing close to high walls and doorways, their voluptuous bodies contrasting with the straight lines of their surroundings.
Had each artist featured on their own – with the exception of Hamdy Khamis’ – their works may have seemed a little monotonous. However, exhibited together, all three artists have their own distinct, easily distinguishable style, making ‘Readings in Visual Art’ a multi-layered, contrasting exhibition.