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Last Works: A Fitting Tribute to the Late Hassan Soliman

  • El Fustat - Old Cairo
  • Cultural Centers
  • Saturday-Wednesday:10AM-10PM, Thursday Off. Friday: 4PM-10PM
reviewed by
Dina Mokhtar
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Last Works: A Fitting Tribute to the Late Hassan Soliman

Proving that art immortalises its creator, Hassan Soliman’s ‘Last Works’ exhibition at Picasso Art Gallery shows the late artists work can still conquers gallery halls to fascinate art enthusiasts in Cairo.

As the exhibition’s name suggests, this show documents the final episode of Soliman’s successful career, which mirrors the disposition of an illness-laden artist. The artist’s last paintings split into two collections; the first is a number of still-life paintings in colours, while the second depicts sceneries of seamen in Egypt painted entirely in black and white.

While the high-contrast bright palettes of his earlier works showed boldness, this collection, which boasts a variety of pastel colours intermingled with grey and blue, reflects a meditative mood. In a painting, the loneliness of the white plate placed before a widow added a dramatic feel to the already sombre mood of the whole work. In another, the cheerful view of fresh pink roses was mellowed by a number of dried petals placed on white cloth next to the flower vase –a thing we perceived as a symbol of death.

With no death allusions nor lonely elements, the masterpiece of this collection that comprises a number of scattered pears, a bowl and cup placed on a table has a magnificent palette of grey, blue and green. Also, what makes this painting stand out is the angle with which the Soliman viewed his elements; while the rest of the paintings shows a front view, this particular painting shows a slightly elevated angle creating a more brooding feel to it.

Despite being known for his monochromatic paintings, the exhibition’s paintings of the same style are not as bright as his earlier works. Dominated by the dark shades of greys and sepia, the paintings in general almost have no room for brighter shades or whites, even when the elements demanded otherwise. For example, the white sail of a boat that takes over a painting has a dim tint to it, giving the whole scenery a dreamy impression.

Although Soliman has bidden us goodbye, this emotional collection enriches his legacy and pays a fitting tribute to a characterful artist.

360 Tip

The exhibition runs till the 22nd of December.

Best Bit

It's a colourful, engaging collection.

Worst Bit

Depending on how you look at it, the collection might also come off as too sparse, too gloomy.

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