The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt

Emad Ibrahim at Chocolate Lounge

Kempinski Nile Hotel: Emad Ibrahim Exhibition

reviewed by
Tara Fathalla
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Kempinski Nile Hotel: Emad Ibrahim Exhibition

For the
fourth consecutive month, the Kempinski
Nile Hotel’s Chocolate Lounge and the Zamalek
Art Gallery have joined forces to present the work of yet another
Egyptian artist. After the successful exhibitions of Salah Taher, Khaled
Sorour
and Sameh Ismael this month’s artist is Emad Ibrahim.
Throughout the years, Ibrahim has had several exhibitions in Egypt and abroad
as well. 32 of his paintings are on display in the Chocolate Lounge and the hotel’s
foyer.

For his
latest exhibition, Ibrahim’s inspiration is of old Egyptian customs such as the
various traditions surrounding the moulids taking place throughout the country.
What initially started as the artist’s interest in the singing of the moulids, turned
into an obsession with the traditional dances. After working for two years on this project and attending several moulid celebrations around Egypt, Ibrahim completed the 32 paintings.

The 32
artworks all focus on men dancing with wooden sticks, a traditional dance
performed during moulids and weddings too, at times. Though it might be rarely
seen in contemporary Cairo weddings today, it is still a hugely popular
practice in Southern Egyptian weddings.

All
artworks are made with charcoal and acrylic paints. Though the paintings look
very much alike; there are some differences. The colour use, for example, differs
in most of the paintings. Where most paintings are very bright with pastel
colours, some are a bit darker with sinister and slightly more aggressive
undertones.

The
paintings specifically focus on the motion of the human body and the various
poses of the dancers. Together, the paintings almost represent sequences in a
film, where each piece is a scene of its own. The focus is on the dancers; the
audiences in the background are mere silhouettes watching the performance. Some
of the artworks are closer to sketches than paintings, which is a bit of a
shame because interesting elements such as the figures’ facial expressions are
not very detailed. Thankfully, other pieces are more precisely detailed and include
the background figures’ expressions. However, this is only the case in three
pieces.

For anyone
unfamiliar with the dances and the atmosphere of the moulids, this exhibition
is a pleasant and enlightening experience. While you are at it, enjoy some
delicious snacks or a drink at the Chocolate Lounge.

360 Tip

The Kempinski Nile Hotel will continue to work with Zamalek Art Gallery for more exhibitions in the Chocolate Lounge. Keep an eye on the Cairo 360 events page.

Best Bit

The artists’ topic choice is very refreshing and original.

Worst Bit

Some pieces come off as if aggressive fights are taking place instead of dance. That may be the point, bit it takes the shine off what is otherwise a bright exhibition.

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