An exhibition of works by Egyptian artist Adel El Siwi, presented by Artspace London, opens today, November 6, 2013, and goes on to 20 January 2014. The choice of art for the exhibition is described thusly:
“While choosing the artwork for this exhibition, I was dominated by two flairs: First the Monochrome, where I wanted to reduce the colours and deal only with black, white and gold. The second flair was to intensify the presence of the colour and maximizing its role in telling the story, as if I wanted to push the colour beyond its own limits. This exhibition has two significant themes. One theme is highly focused on human faces – with Pharaonic and African features alongside an attempt to deal with the Oriental Regality especially in the two Ottoman Princesses. The other theme is focused on fables, in which my passion for animals is highly revealed.”
Here’s a video with El Siwi speaking some more about these choices, (in Arabic). One of the comments he makes is “We in Egypt forget that we are in Africa. We are connected to Africa through the Nile…We are Africans. But because of our Arab and Islamic identities, the African identity fades into the background. But I insist that Egypt is part of Africa.”
Here is Bibi Naz Zavieh describing Adel El-Siwi’s The Others (audio).
More on Siwi:
Born in Beheira in 1952, Egyptian painter Adel El Siwi first studied medicine in the early 1970’s before seriously considering a career as a painter. Like other Egyptian artists of the late 1970s, El Siwi, who had emigrated to Europe and North America, was compelled to return to the motherland, drawn by the power of Egypt’s legacy of art aesthetic achievement. In 1980 he moved to Milan only to return to Cairo in 1990 where he currently lives and works.
After twelve years of self-training and traveling Europe and Egypt he had his first major show in 1985 at the Cairo Atelier. Since then he has participated in solo exhibitions in Egypt, Germany, Lebanon and Italy, and group exhibitions as far across the globe as Brazil and Mexico. A 1988 exhibition at the Mashrabia Gallery in Cairo marked El Siwi’s transition from the human figure to the interiors cape. This new phase attempted to give the traditional still life object pride and powerful presence.
Some other Siwi works: