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

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‘On the Move’ Exhibition at the Residence of the European Union

Residence of the European Union: ‘On the Move’

reviewed by
Serena Belcastro
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Residence of the European Union: ‘On the Move’
Entering the Residence is like having a stroll in F.H. Burnett’s Secret Garden while appreciating six of the most significant painters for Egyptian contemporary art. All of them are already known for their numerous solo exhibitions both in Egypt and abroad.

Once you are in, follow the natural disposition of the rooms and admire the sumptuous style of this early 20th century residence. After a few steps, you may find yourself in a significant contrast between the smooth lines of the furniture and the strength of the first paintings.

The entrance hall hosts four of Salah El Mur’s works. One in particular caught our attention: two women are painted in different green, blue, and red tones on a green background; one of them is pregnant. Green should be the colour of hope but here it gives a sense of sickness. The women are almost blue in the face and their wide skirts remind us of a cage, as if they were somehow trapped.

This sense of anxiety becomes stronger once you are in front of Amre Heiba’s controversial paintings in the room on your left. The title he chose for this selection of works, Still Life, is somewhat provocative. The artist represents living beings, humans and animals as if they were still in time and space as objects. His way of painting is very expressive, sometimes macabre, using such dark colours and pronounced outlines, with red shaded details that recall blood. Six other paintings of the same artist are exhibited in living room two.

The exhibition continues in the waiting room with four of Hany Rashed’s paintings. You can’t help noticing two of them for their big format, pop art inspiration and advertising style. On one of them, the square canvas is only painted with the three primary colours plus black and white. The square contains a circle in which two women from the 50’s are gossiping. The other two paintings are more inspired by urban art and use collage techniques.

Along the corridor, Ibrahim s paintings are exhibited. Apart from one big sized work, the rest of his collection is made up of a series of small works on paper. El Haddad’ asserts: “We see nothing truly until we understand it. And for me the real key for seeing, understanding, and making an art work is honesty”. The walking men he paints are Probably going towards that quest for honesty the artist talks about.

The dining room is the last room and also the biggest one. It hosts eleven paintings: three from Xavier Puigmarti, three from Salah El Mur, and five from Georges Bahgory. We appreciated the title of Puigmarti’s selection, which inspired by what happened in Egypt in the days after January 25th: Wireless.

The Salah El Mur paintings here are different from those of the entrance hall, showing something more tribal in their represented subjects and choice of colours.

Before having a deserved rest in the hidden garden, don’t miss Bahgory’s section which is on your right. You’ll find a big painting probably representing a concert. We can recognize men playing instruments from an orchestra in the background, a couple dancing in the front, and an impressive Castafiore filling the space with her powerful facial expression.

All the 46 exhibited paintings are for sale.

360 Tip

You can also visit the exhibition by appointment calling the 37494680 ext 112.

Best Bit

Besides the exhibition, this is an occasion to visit the Residence and have a seat in the quiet garden.

Worst Bit

Prices of some paintings are high.

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