Regional Artists Unite at Cairo’s Ubuntu Gallery Annual Summer Exhibition

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DUBAI: Cairo’s Ubuntu Gallery Annual Summer Exhibition is an event for every art lover on the city’s calendar. Here we highlight some of the works on display.

Aya Mostafa

‘Untitled’

Mostafa’s work has evolved from painting to include storyboarding and digital art. She is heavily influenced by the bright colors of pop art, but also by her personal environment and domestic life, according to the gallery.

This untitled piece is from his “Merry Go Round” project. At the launch of his solo exhibition in March this year, Mostafa explained that the exhibit focused “on the contrast between what the carousel metaphorically implies and its unattainable cheerful exterior in a world that merges human and animal facial expressions that cannot (differentiate between) what is real and what is hidden.

“The paintings evolve in a living, colorful but still world,” she continued. “A world of cheerful environments surrounded by unlikely faces.”

She also explained the lack of perspective in the paintings saying, “In ‘Merry Go Round’, all the objects are on the same plane of clarity and vitality. No space is given to identify what is near and what is far.

Khalid Zaki

‘The Jasmine Man’ (sketch)

Zaki is one of the most respected Egyptian sculptors. This sketch is for his marble sculpture “Man With Jasmine”, which was the highlight of Zaki’s 2021 exhibition “Resurrection – Among That People”, inspired by the Egyptian revolution.

Zaki’s varied influences range from famous ancient Egyptian statues in Cairo and Luxor to Italian Renaissance sculpture (Zaki spent nearly a decade in Tuscany in the 80s and 90s) to Egyptian modernism. He managed to combine the old and the present to create a style all his own – a style that attracted international acclaim, with museums and private collectors around the world acquiring his works.

Mutaz Elemam

‘Untitled’

This misty landscape painting is typical of the Sudanese artist’s work, which the gallery says “invites the viewer to gaze, to attempt to experience a moment of serenity.” It is part of his “CMYK” series, based on the subtractive color model used in print, a model that Elemam used “allegorically, in his quest to invite the viewer to re-examine a painting from principles first,” according to the Saatchi Gallery in London.

“His primary concern as an artist and his responsibility to the viewer is the very essence of what a painting really is; what you feel is what you see,” Saatchi continues. “Colours are very important to Elemam, he has made them his own language and he uses them to tell you what he thinks and feels, while discreetly giving you all the space and freedom to draw your own findings.”

Doaa Fakher

‘Untitled’

Much of the Cairo native’s work features the kind of distorted, otherworldly creatures seen in this piece. They are inspired by Fakher’s love for nature and make direct reference to tree trunks. “Fakher’s work can also be identified by her distinctive choice of colors, where she adds stark contrast between foreground and background in order to highlight and present her subjects vividly,” says Ubuntu. “At the same time, it manages to contain a great amount of detail, allowing the viewer to truly savor the rawness behind its aesthetic.”

Husseiny Aly

‘Untitled’

Aly’s love for art history and heritage led him to a career in teaching. He also permeates his own works, which are heavily influenced by Egyptian wall art. “These murals told stories of daily life and rituals of man’s relationship to agriculture and the land,” the gallery explains. “Aly’s works are densely populated vignettes of Egyptian countryside landscapes, or human and animal figures painted in a flat style reminiscent of the murals and temple murals of ancient Egypt and Assyria. There is no doubt that the artist celebrates Egyptian identity, but there is another message in the composition, both political and nationalistic, about the Egyptian people. His drawings and paintings are an ode to them, highlighting a history that dates back thousands of years.

Dina Abdel Nabi

‘Untitled’

This piece appeared in the “Licorice” exhibition by Abdel Nadi. “Abdel Nabi is interested in how art shapes the communal, the political, the personal and the universal,” the gallery states. Writing in 2020, artist and filmmaker Khaled Hafez compared Abdel Nadi’s work to “early artists who left their footprints on prehistoric stones” and said she uses “a visual language that is both personal and intimate “. But he also described his art as “cinematic”, saying it’s “where dreams intertwine with reality”.

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