Glow: An Exhibition by Alaa Taher
For any up-and-coming artist in Egypt, exhibiting your work at the Cairo Opera House is quite an achievement, as it is arguably the most prestigious arts and culture centre in Egypt.
Alaa Taher, the 32-year-old photographer and painter, has made it to the Opera House’s Music Library Gallery with a collection simply titled Glow comprising of seventeen abstract expressionist paintings that burst with effervescent-bright colours and energetic movement through loose, expressive brushstrokes.
Taher worked on the paintings over the past year and some were even shown at his last exhibition at Hanfaninha Gallery in 2008. However, unlike his exhibition at Hanfaninha,which was a somewhat confusing mix of photographs and paintings, Glow focuses solely on paintings full of intense energy and dynamic imagery.
Three works stand out: Untitled 13 is an intriguing swirl of greens, yellows and reds full of spontaneity and movement, while Untitled 10 shows a frame of browns and yellows reminiscent of the Egyptian desert. Untitled 6, completely dissimilar to the rest of the collection and powerful enough to stand alone, is a bleak horizon of dark grey fades behind a solitary black tree painted with deft, precise strokes.
Taher chose not to name the paintings so as not to assign meaning and preconceived ideas to them, enabling the audience to view his work passively and make their own interpretations.
The collection showcases Taher’s raw talent and great potential for growth, as well as his passion for uninhibited colours and movement. He may have yet to find his signature style; there is a subtle but noticeable difference between the styles of the paintings. The almost aggressive use of colours and the spontaneous flow of lines could possibly have been influenced by the artist’s background in biology, which he studied at the American University in Cairo.
Aside from his work as a painter, Taher runs his own photography and advertising agency ATP, in addition to Sowar Online, the first stock photography website in the Middle East. He has exhibited his work in Egypt, Australia and the USA, including the Mahmoud Mokhtar Museum and Townhouse Gallery in Cairo.
Glow runs until 31 March 2010