Sunday,22 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1306, (4 - 10 August 2016)
Sunday,22 July, 2018
Issue 1306, (4 - 10 August 2016)

Ahram Weekly


This week's focus sheds light on the exceptional career of a very special role model who gave his life to art and searched deeply inside his soul to discover his true creative self. He abandoned academic teachings and sought something beyond his philosophical visions seeing art through a dreamy spirit wandering in the corridors of temples, churches, monasteries and mosques. He draws on the heritage enough to satisfy his need for beauty for re-drafted modernist visions of the authenticity of Egypt that is the late artist Hamid Abdallah (1917 - 1985).

As a tribute to the artist, art expert Karim Francis says, "Since he began his first steps in art, Hamid Abdallah instinctively rejected the traditional concept of art in order to establish his very own experimental and revolutionary vision."

Even though eventually he abandoned his homeland and left Egypt for good to self-imposed exile in Denmark, Abdallah's art language is deeply rooted into his native Egyptian cultural heritage, which blends contemporary Arab reality with authentic Egyptian traditions.

Paintings by Abdallah at the museum are from two phases of the artist's career: the early '50s, his political activist phase, when he was mainly preoccupied with the trials and tribulations of the Egyptian working class. And, next, from the late '50s onwards when, having left Egypt for Europe, the artist deployed the Arabic alphabet as the basic building block of paintings increasingly mystical in tone. Common to both phases was a minimalist, minimum brush-stroke approach to composition. Interestingly enough, his first marriage was to another Egyptian art icon, the exceptionally talented Tahia Halim in 1945.

In 1949, he held a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Egyptian Art then started his many travels to Paris and London between 1949 and 1951 when he displayed his art at the Louvre Palace and the Egyptian Art Centre in London. His final and complete departure and philosophical separation from Egypt was declared in 1956 when he left his homeland to settle in Denmark with his Danish wife and their children, however, this separation left him a tortured soul and created a very complicated relationship between him and his homeland.  

Abdallah's works are on permanent show at the Museum of Modern Egyptian Art

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