Born in 1929, Adam Henein grew up into a family of silversmiths from Asyut and lived in the neighborhood of Bab al-Shaariyya in Cairo. In 1953, he earned a degree in sculpture from the School of Fine Arts in Cairo. After graduating, he was awarded a two-year grant to stay in Thebes at the Luxor Atelier, established in 1941 by the Alexandrian painter and diplomat Mohamed Nagui (1888-1956) to promote the study of ancient Egyptian art as part of the curriculum of art schools in Egypt. There, Henein studied pharaonic tombs and witnessed daily life in Upper Egypt. In 1972, Henein, a mid-career Egyptian sculptor then, moved to Europe together with his wife Afaf‘ to learn everything about art’. After spending over 25 years in Paris, Henein returned to his country of birth.
Adam Henein has devoted his life to the art of sculpture, from which nothing has distracted him, except the practice of color drawing, in keeping with traditional Egyptian techniques. Today, he is considered to be the most influential living Arab sculptor of our time. A modernist artist of international note, Henein’s work is part of the founding collection of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha and his large-scale sculpture The Ship, conceived as a metaphorical alternative to the museum space, is permanently installed in the museum’s piazza.
In 1996, Adam Henein established the annual Aswan International Sculpture Symposium (AISS) in Aswan; a city that since Antiquity has been famous for its granite quarries and in 2014, he founded his eponymous museum in Harraniyya, housing over 4000 works. He was awarded the State Award for the Arts in 1998 and the Moubarak Prize in 2004.