Zamalek Art Gallery: ‘Blossoming in Firenzie’ by Yasmine El Hazek
As one of the most established galleries in Cairo, Zamalek Art Gallery is notorious for putting on a good show – or two, since it expanded. One of two exhibitions currently on show, Yasmine El Hazek’s Blossoming in Firenzie is an enthralling exhibition that truly celebrates the art of painting, evoking many an emotion as takes you on an Italian expedition, of sorts.
Born and raised in Egypt, El Hazek is one of the most positive contemporary painters in Cairo today. “I try not to paint anything that could give me any negative energy, so I try to absorb the negativity and channel the brighter side of things in my art,” she says.
El Hazek’s interest lies within faces and emotions; a trait that is manifested in some of her paintings; where some of them feature couples or friends engrossed in each other’s company, while others focus more closely on people’s facial expressions.
One of the first aspects we notice about this collection is the intensity of the vivid colours, which almost hit you like a beam of sunlight in a dark room. El Hazek’s style is figurative yet quite simplistic, holding a certain level of innocence in their aesthetic. While observing her work, we could not help but think that her drawings are similar in style to the drawings we find in children’s storybooks – vivid, colourful, inspiring.
The other striking aspect is in the title, Blossoming in Firenzie, which points towatds El Hazek’s fondness of Florence – a city that’s dowsed in colour and stunning terracotta architecture, not to mention the fact that it’s every artist’s dream and the birthplace of the Renaissance.
One of El Hazek’s acrylic paintings depicts two characters – possibly women – sitting leisurely in a boat down the river, looking quite content and behind them is a ray of colourful buildings painted on the canvas like giant building blocks.
Italians are known for their positivity and relaxed attitude and they live to enjoy life. With her vivid colours oozing with positivity; El Hazek captures in her paintings.
The great success of this exhibition is the way in which El Hazek captures the essence of the sweeping beauty of Florence and the way its history shapes its character. Blossoming in Firenzie is a remarkable, refreshing exhibition that highlights the more leisurely side of life – something that rarely screen on the local art scene in post-revolution Egypt.