Ubuntu Art Gallery: ‘The Collector’s Eye’ Group Exhibition
20 Hassan Sabry St.
As one of the rising and more modern galleries in Cairo, Ubuntu is currently hosting a colourful display of paintings and sculptures put together under the title, The Collectors Eye, featuring the work of over 30 contemporary artists, both foreign and Egyptian.
The first artist whose work captivated us was Egyptian born Mohamed Hassan with an exquisite oil painting on a 35cm x 50cm canvas. The painting depicts a middle-aged woman in a lacy, white dress and has which appears quite dated; the piece has a distinct 1900’s aesthetic – the subject’s hairstyle and even the composition mirrors elements of traditional early twentieth century portraits. Upon further inspection of the facial features, Hassan’s delicate brush strokes are barely visible creating an almost photographic effect, though the lace on the dress is a little more freely painted.
Burchard Simaika, on the other hand, offers us something completely different in the next room of the gallery, with a thickly painted, abstract scene using layer upon layer of paint. Due to oil’s long drying process it is clear that this painting took weeks, possibly months, to create considering the artist most likely needed to wait for the previous layer to dry. The sheer abstractness of the piece makes it difficult to decipher; what can be interpreted, though, is that the colour scheme uses earthy colours that allude to greenery, stone and shrubbery, entwined with several shades of blue implying water, possibly small lakes.
It’s not only paintings displayed in Ubuntu’s exhibition; there is also a generous selection of sculptures situated in each gallery space, with two particularly stunning pieces being by Amgad El Tohamy. One features an obscure figure, created using bronze; the subject seems to be sat cross-legged with the head and arms significantly small and slender in relation to the lower body which is chunky and large. The focus of this sculpture seems to be the challenging of our perception of human proportion as well as the notion of stretching and resting. When we stretch a part of the body it naturally appears thinner than when we are resting, in particular a sitting position; El Tohamy elaborates on this in a highly dramatic way creating an enticing sculpture. Another interesting aspect of the figure is that it takes form as an object or ornament for the home such as a vase or a lamp and further inspection is needed to even understand it is depicting a human being.
The second sculpture by El Tohamy is also created from bronze, though this one is of a human head; once again he challenges our natural perception and elaborates on a particular notion, one being the idea of a force against ones face, perhaps a wind blowing hard pushing the skin and hair tight; another could be to depict a material of some sort being pulled tight over the face, almost as if it is being suffocated. As with his first sculpture it could also resemble a household object from the abstract way in which it was created.
The Collectors Eye is another pleasing and well thought out exhibition from Ubuntu Gallery, displaying a delightful mixture of contemporary art to the public. Though there is no brochure or booklet, the gallery owner is always happy to assist with any queries about the collection.