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Picasso Collection 17 at Picasso Gallery

Picasso Art Gallery: ‘Picasso Collection 17’

reviewed by
Katie Dryden
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Picasso Art Gallery: ‘Picasso Collection 17’

Zamalek’s famous Picasso Art Gallery is currently hosting its latest and most diverse group exhibition, the Picasso Collection 17, which features thirteen highly talented artists all of which contribute something unique and special to the walls of Picasso Gallery.

Most of the exhibition features enormous sized paintings, some that take up an entire wall; however there is a small selection of sculptures delicately fitted amongst the twists and turns of the gallery. Samir Rafea holds the highest number of paintings within the space. One particularly interesting piece is a large painting in blue tones portraying a human figure almost wrapped around an animal of some sort.  The detail is limited with strong abstract forms but there is a clear affection shown between the two characters within the painting, in fact they are so tightly embraced that it’s almost as though they are one.

Across from Rafea’s paintings is a rather colourful collection of three intricate paintings by Hala El Shafey where pattern and colour are definitely key elements.  From afar the work appears as a knitted blanket or a patchwork quilt with different kinds of stitching and multi-coloured thread.  One piece depicts a home with its many rooms, windows, doors and even trees bearing fruit.  Even from her other two paintings which are shown in the exhibition and portray objects such as a home-telephone; it appears that El Shafey’s interests lay within the home environment; children are present in one painting and chickens too.

The whole exhibition features a mixture of animals and people with various scenes though almost all bare two similarities—pattern and colour.

There are two statues situated beside one another; one features a woman on her back strongly resembling a cobra; and the second is of a four legged animal with a face resembling a human. The relationship between the human form and that of an animal is clearly the key theme here as there is a presence of both in each lone sculpture. From one angle they appear as animals, but then from another the possibility of them being human is also pliable.

One of our favourites in the exhibition was a painting by Suzan Saad. The first sight of it could best be described as a ferocious fight between fiery colours—reds, oranges and yellows displayed on a black smoky scene expressing movement and violence.  The next one in her collection featured the same burning colours yet there were unclear figures in the scene and once again the colours portray a sense of fighting and even movement across the canvas.

Towards the rear of the gallery there is one collection that really stood out to us and the most realistic of the group too, almost photographic yet with colours more vibrant and idealistic.  They depicted outdoor scenes of sea, sand and rocky areas and had a peaceful and tranquil feeling to them – a feeling that came to round of the exhibition as an eclectic and engaging collection.

360 Tip

Art fans can follow Picasso Art Gallery on instagram.

Best Bit

The exhibitions as whole meshes, but is still very eclectic with each artist's contribution standing out.

Worst Bit

As with many group exhibitions, the work of certain artists was so interesting, that it feels like there was more to be explored individually.

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