Picasso Art Gallery: ‘Moving Forward’ by Britt Boutros Ghali
In the last few years, Cairo’s arts and culture scene has been shaped by the the country’s many monumental moments. The imaginations of artists have been captured, and in response, Norwegian-Egyptian artist Britt Boutros Ghali has put together a colourful collection of abstract work titled ‘Moving Forward’. No stranger to to Egypt, this exhibition marks her third a Picasso Art Gallery in Zamalek.
As one of just two artists to have received the prestigious St. Olav’s Order by King Haakon of Norway, Ghali has been based in Egypt for the past 25 years, and has enjoyed a reputation as an internationally recognised artist with a good understanding of Egyptian culture, both pre and post-revolution.
Unfortunately, little information was available regarding the individual pieces; even thet titles were a mystery, which left our imaginations to wander freely. Her unbridled popularity means that the hefty canvases range in price from around 20,000LE to 60,000LE.
The exhibition is made up of a multitude of large abstract oil-on-canvas paintings, all of which have the same striking, hectic brush strokes and diverse colour palettes. Different base colours and spectrums change the mood from piece to piece; from fiery reds to calmer blue, green and purple hues.
Although not immediately obvious, many of the paintings feature subtle hidden figures, thoroughly blended into the busy backgrounds. One painting stood out in particular, sporting garish red areas, behind which we could make out the outline of a man dressed in a suit; the significance of which could only be speculated on.
Specifically pointed out by the gallery assistant, the first piece next to the entrance is an eye-catching, almost floral piece. Largely emerald green in colour, with the additions of cool blues, violets and yellows, the painting appears out of focus with the colours running into one another. The message of this painting is again open to interpretation, and the mesh of different colours can evoke many different emotions.
Spilling her feelings and observations onto canvas, Britt Boutros Ghali has produced a range of busy, interesting and abstract paintings. However, in being familiar with her previous collections, we were disappointed to find all the pieces in this exhibition to be strikingly similar to one another, with no information or titles to help identify significant differences or deeper meanings.