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Safar Khan Art Gallery

Safar Khan: Katherine Bakhoum

  • 6 Brazil Street
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  • Mon - Sat, 10 am - 2 pm & 5 - 9 pm -
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Cairo 360
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Safar Khan: Katherine Bakhoum

Romance,
mysticism and nostalgia meet in Safar Khan this November.   Artists Katherine Bakhoum’s current exhibit,
Reves d’Orient is on display now until the end of November 2010.

Born in Cairo and based out of Paris, Katherine Bakhoum explores scenes and
people of the Orient in her truly dreamlike exhibit. A large number of pastels and
mixed media are packed into the tiny Zamalek showroom. As visitors move from
one linen canvas to the other, it feels almost like jumping from one dream to
the next; each scene is different yet they are all connected. Steely blues and
cool greys dominate the scenes, but embellishments of red– a girl’s scarf, a tarbush
and a man’s robe– lead viewers’ eyes around the gallery to each piece.

The portraits are
mostly of pensive subjects; figures seem to stare off reflectively, sometimes
facing away from the audience entirely, although a few scenes include young
girls drinking tea and one robed woman holding the moon in her hands. Bakhoum
uses the moon motif in two more of the exhibit’s pastels. These moon scenes may
be the works that best capture the theme of this collection.  

The first depicts
a large full, textured moon, surrounded by clouds with small figures climbing
up the clouds. The artist explains that this represents the days when climbing
the Pyramids was permitted. The second moon pastel shows a similarly full moon,
with tiny tannoura dancers spinning around the orb. This may be the most
beautiful of the collection; so make sure to check out the second floor where
it is displayed.

Many of Bakhoum’s
scenic pieces are clouded over so that the palace or natural scene of the work
is barely visible. This effect captures the theme of dreams, which are
sometimes difficult to decipher, and it also captures the beauty of an early
morning, perhaps in Cairo when the mist over the
Nile clouds the landscape.  

Reves d’Orient is
not particularly groundbreaking; there are no shocking political undertones,
nor new methods of colouring the canvas. However, the exhibit is captivating in
its use of colour layered with specks of metallic and the simple themes
presented ethereally.  

360 Tip

When you are upstairs, make sure to turn around and have a look at the wall across from the balcony. The two canvases hanging here cannot be seen from the first floor.

Best Bit

The moon pieces on the second floor are enchanting.

Worst Bit

Rêves d’Orient borders on being too big of an exhibition for the tiny space of Safar Khan.

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