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‘Eyes Stream’ Salah El Mur Art Exhibition at Mashrabia Gallery

Mashrabia Gallery: ‘Eyes Stream’ by Salah El Mur

reviewed by
Ahmed El Dahan
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Mashrabia Gallery: ‘Eyes Stream’ by Salah El Mur

Born 1966, Salah El Mur is a Sudanese artist and graphic designer whose work has seen him grow to be an internationally renowned artist, hosting prolific exhibitions and selling his pieces to countless collectors. His exhibitions have been prominently featured in galleries throughout Khartoum, Beirut, Paris, Kenya and Canada to name but a few cities.

His latest body of work, titled ‘Eyes Stream’, uses the express possibilities of the human face as its primary focus. 

Mur’s painting style can be defined as slightly random and abstract, but not to the point of incomprehensibility.  His use of colour favours bold tones in thick paint strokes complimented with occasional shades of lighter hues. The subjects express unreserved emotional capacities; although the paintings do not include significant events or action, each face appears to have a story behind it.

The emotions that El Mur’s peering faces look content, sad or bored, while others exude negativity, vengeance and contempt. Faithful to the title of the exhibition, Mur has paid particular attention to the subjects’ eyes, which gives his paintings a prevalent human quality.

Several paintings caught our attention for their dramatic effect. For instance, one piece features what appears to be a sad clown to whom El Mur has used warm colours; but the scheme’s affect is all but vetoed by the clown’s facial expression and posture, which emanate pure misery. Another painting displays an unrealistically large face that, although holds a plain expression, is still rather striking thanks to the use of asymmetrical eyes.

On a lighter note, a cut-out of a green face, although strangely coloured, evokes a sense of complete serenity. El Mur achieves this effect through his ability to manipulate the expressions on his subjects’ faces in a very subtle way. While many are similar in composition, each has depth and character.  

Unexpectedly, ‘Eyes Stream’ is one of the most emotional exhibitions that we’ve seen in Cairo in a while. Even with his peculiar painting style, El Mur’s pieces are capable of affecting even those completely ignorant towards art.

360 Tip

The exhibition is running till January 16th.

Best Bit

The miserable clown painting is strangely enchanting.

Worst Bit

Not only would it make things easier for a reviewer, but the fact that individual pieces are untitled feels like a missed opportunity to add even more character to each piece.

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