2015 - 2017
I woke up and saw the chandelier hanging on ceiling of my bedroom and I heard voices whisper.
“What is to give light must endure burning.” Viktore Frank
“Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.” Ann Frank
“I wish i could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.” Hafez Shirazi
“Darkness is your candle your boundaries are your quest.” Rumi
“Night travelers are full of light, and you are too, don’t Leave this companionship, be a wake full candle in a golden dish.” Rumi
The Visible Reminder of Invisible Light.” T.S Eliot
I Stepped out of my bed and painted the darkness away.
2012 - 2014
I started working on this series in 2013, the toughest and most beautiful of years. What Egypt faced generally that year, corresponded to a large extent to what I faced in my private life. I witnessed people at their ugliest and at their most noble.
At the moment of despair came the miracle and I realized that it was still viable to dream and hope. The year the abyss stared back at us and we were not the first to blink. To deal with this flood of conflicting emotions I started to draw and paint. I worked as if I were talking to myself. I started with no clear intentions, predefined ideas or composition. I just followed the nib, as it wandered almost of its own volition, listening to the sound of steel and copper scratch and wound the watercolor paper’s rough surface. I embraced the looseness of water and pigment to the full. I wanted the medium to be almost a conscious collaborator in the creative act, to interrupt my dull inner monologue and turn it into a high intensity dialogue.
And since I was pre-occupied with the human element, the lines and curves started moving in their own momentum to draw figures and personas that seemed to have their independent presence, their own stories that they wanted to keep for themselves, staring back at me with resentment for my intrusion and curiosity. A little later they noticed my melancholy and seemed to relate. The glare of their stare dimmed a bit, they allowed some familiarity and tried to console the stranger they see for the first time but feel they know from before. Suddenly their noses turned shiny and red like a round tomato. When they neither heard laughter nor saw the faintest shadow of a smile, in desperation they raised the pitch of their humorous attempts; they started jumping, gesticulating, singing and dancing to no avail. They settled down and tenderly said:
“No sadness exceeds that of he who lives for the merriment of others, his sadness is his own and everyone else’s.”
TABLE OF LIFE
2007 - 2011
This is the landscape of my working table.
Tall bottles and fat glasses towering over papers tattooed with a map of a mind, the empty paint tubes fallen soldiers of a useless battle, the pencils leads fired on a target they never hit, cigarette butts worming in ash trays, too many cups of coffee, too many balls to juggle, water to wash away too many sins accumulated over the original bite of the apple, candy and sugar for the ants celebrating the sweetness of life, roll the dice, play the cards, it’s your move, check mate, would you like a cup of tea?
Automatic writing, a brain racing against a deadline under the spot light late at night, decapitated flowers the only connection to nature, a crowd of imaginary friends to make up for a lifetime of loneliness, letters never sent and cards never received, light and shadow, happiness and melancholy, hope and nostalgia, yin and yang and a box of double happiness, do you want another bite of the apple? Or shall I pour you another drink?
It’s still early and we have a long way to go before the deadline.
This is all that remains of six years of engineering education and a bachelor degree In mechanical engineering. Well at least something fun came out of it after all.
FACES OF TAHRIR
2011 - 2012
The first time I saw the Tahrir Square upheavals was on TV screen. A constant birds eye view of the round about covered with an infinite number of pulsating colorful dots, much akin to an ant colony, for days that image was constantly present on all channels, in a way it’s the image that remains in the collective memory. When I went down to the square the experience, the visual was completely different, you walked among the people, what you saw is an endless succession of faces in extreme closeup, there was no room for horizon lines, perspectives, no distance, when I looked at the photos I snapped, only faces and often too close for the camera to be able to focus. For the whole of 2011 I worked on a mural size piece of 91 panels of 2m x 1.5m a mosaic of faces, some remembered, some I imagined some contempory, some from history. This is how I will forever remember that intense moment, through the faces of Tahrir.
This is stubborn work. The work of an artist that paints in isolation against all odds. I studied mechanical engineering, made a career in advertising. And for decades painted without clear purpose, without ever showing. This is work that is intimate, sincere, personal, introspective. The foot prints of a young man’s journey to painting.