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

Salah Abdel Kerim Exhibition at Safar Khan Art Gallery

Safar Khan Art Gallery: Salah Abdel Kerim Exhibition

reviewed by
Dina Mokhtar
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Safar Khan Art Gallery: Salah Abdel Kerim Exhibition

Located in a relatively hushed side street in the ever picturesque Zamalek area, Safarkhan Art Gallery has always been a leader in its field, hosting exhibitions for Egypt’s most prominent artists and just generally being a must-go for all Cairene connoisseurs of the arts.

All throughout the next month, till the 27th of February, the gallery is displaying the works of one of Egypt’s most talented and renowned artists, the late Dr. Salah Abdel Kerim, including some never-before seen pieces. His works, which range from oil paintings to felt-tip portraits to shaded landscapes and theatrical sets to wooden and wrought iron sculptures all suggest surrealist muses.

Being one of the most established names of modern art in Egypt, Salah Abdel Kerim’s works have attracted a lot of local as well as global praise due to his use of several diverse mediums in his art and his versatility. Some of the national and international prizes the creative artist received include the San Vito Romano prize in painting and the prize for sculpture at the Biennale of Alexandria, as well as an honorary distinction in sculpture in Saint Paolo in 1959.

On display front and center in the gallery is his most famous, award-winning sculpture ‘The Cry of the Beast’, which was featured in Rene Huyghe’s book Art and Man alongside the works of Picasso and Muller – the former being an obvious source of inspiration and admiration. Visitors can also get a first-hand look at his design wirk, done in collaboration with Salah Jahin, in celebration of Cairo’s first millennium. His illustrations for Al Ahram newspaper can also be seen hanging on the walls of the gallery’s top floor, as do some of his drawings of landscapes.

Some of the other truly breath-taking pieces currently being shown at the gallery include Abdel Kerim’s owl sculptures, and the different décors he put together for theatrical productions.

Dr. Salah Abdel Kerim’s works are, without a doubt, some of the most striking in Egyptian art history thanks to his skill, creativity, talent and openness to experiment with countless methods and materials. Rarely does a single exhibition capture such a wide range of one single artist’s work like this one does. As a collection, the links between Abdel Kerim’s inspirations and style are obvious and the whole exhibition flows. 

360 Tip

Be sure to strike a conversation with the gallery manager who would happily reply to any inquiries and tell you all about the artist’s history.

Best Bit

A fittingly grand and eclectic exhibition for one of Egypt's greatest artists.

Worst Bit

Some of the paintings - especially on the top floor - are clustered into messy displays.

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