Zamalek Art Gallery: Zeinab El Sageny Exhibition
11 Brazil St.
Anne de Groot
Zamalek Art Gallery never fails to deliver when it comes to interesting
new art exhibitions. The gallery is always up-to-date and showcases the work of
famous artists and new talents alike. This December, the paintings of the
renowned artist Zeinab Al Sageny are being exhibited in the gallery. The exhibition was supposed to be held almost a year ago but due to the events that
unfolded in Egypt, it was postponed based on the artist’s wishes.
Al Sageny’s work usually consists of colourful oil and charcoal paintings
of women. The most striking elements of Al Sageny’s work are the women’s large
eyes and striking features. A recurring theme in Al Sageny’s work is the bond between
mother and daughter. Many of her paintings show mother and daughter holding
each other. Most of the women in the paintings are in groups or at least with another
person, while a few portraits focus on individual women. Al Sageny’s work looks very bright and joyful,
often portraying scenes of young girls playing together or with their toys.
A closer inspection of the paintings will show you the artist’s keen
attention to detail, such as the subtle texture of the women’s hair.
A few paintings include animals, such as the recurring depiction of a
white dove placed in children’s hands as a symbol of peace. A few artworks
carry a small kitten popping up from underneath a table or sleeping at the feet
of the women. In another painting, two girls ride a buffalo through the shade
of palm trees. The use of the colour gold gives a very special dimension to
In this reviewer’s opinion, the best piece in the collection is that of
a woman representing Egypt. The woman in the painting wears a white dress and
has a sad look in her eyes. Around her neck is a necklace with a cross while her
head is framed by a crescent like a crown. Aside from this painting,
the Egyptian theme appears in other paintings too. We see a girl playing with a red,
white and black doll for instance. Another highlight is a painting where
several women and girls are seated at a round table. Their faces are so similar, it’s
almost like the same woman depicted in different angles and ages, all with the
same stunning eyes.
Al Sageny’s exhibition is absolutely worth a visit. At 81-years
old, she continues to produce paintings that are extraordinarily rich with
childlike innocence and a sense of nostalgia.