Five rebellious, avant-garde Egyptian writers and painters founded in 1939 a movement that for the first time in modern Egypt linked politics to art – The Art & Freedom Group. Though surrealism prevailed amongst the founders, the group was an eclectic cluster of some of the most important creative forces Egypt had ever seen.
Convinced that Egypt was “a sick and failing society”, the 5 outspoken protagonists (George Henein, Ramses Younan, Fouad & Anwar Kamel and Kamel el Telmessani) stated that art did not exist merely as ‘art for art’s sake’, but rather‘ art presented itself as the means to liberate Egypt’, with the defiant use of the pen and brush.
Fast forward to Egypt in 2012, with a newly democratically elected president and a confused society, we are presenting the works of 9 Egyptian artists whose work echoes the legacy of the Art & Freedom group, acting as agents for social change for a free liberated Egypt.
Samir Gharib, journalist, art critic, author, former chairman of Egypt national library and archives and currently chairman of the National Organisation of UrbanHarmony (NOUH), talked to us on December 18, 2012about the history of that art movement.MrGharibhas dedicated years of his life to document the Art & Freedom group. His research culminated into “Surrealism in Egypt” published in 1986 in 3 languages and “RayyatelKhayyal” in 199