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Hazem El Mestikawy Returns To Cairo After 5 Years of Absence

ArtTalks Gallery is proud to announce Juxtaposition, Hazem El Mestikawy’s first solo exhibition in Egypt in five years.

In his sculptural installations and wall objects, Vienna-based Egyptian visual artist Hazem El Mestikawy seeks to create minimalist work in reduced forms yet rich in layers of meaning. His unique act of juxtaposing, overlapping and locking or glueing different modules made of cardboard and paper, creates technically elaborate and thematically engaging works. With flawless precision and a geometric complexity, El Mestikawy creates infinite, abstract and pure patterns from symmetrically repeating letters, numbers or shapes. Visibly architectural, his creations use a variety of inspirations from his heritage such as the most fundamental principle of Sufism – unity in multiplicity. The notion of meditative process, repetition and time, as also found in Islamic art and architecture and ancient Egyptian art, is his constant guiding spirit.

Fashion Meets Art

ArtTalks Gallery And Pashion, Egypt’s premier fashion magazine, cooperated to launch an annual one-day event to exhibit merging works of art by Egypt’s new generation of Fashion and Jewelry Designers with Egyptian Contemporary Art.

Featured this year, fashion and jewelry designers Dina Shaker, Dido Embaby, Kojak, Nuniz, Okhtein, Reem Jano, Rons Bags, Yasmin Mansour, Mema El Shafey, Moja Khafagi and Fashion Clan.

The event was generously sponsored by Gianaclis wines, Absolut Elyx and Chivas.


ArtTalks is pleased to announce the addition of Hossam Dirar to its growing roster. His first solo exhibition at the gallery will take place in April 1, 2014.

Dirar was born in Cairo in 1978. He completed his BFA from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Helwan University in 2000. Fascinated by the art of calligraphy, Dirar studied its relation to art.

He first worked as a graphic designer before setting his own graphic design studio SamDzine. His early practice involved the use of calligraphy on day-to-day banal photography on canvas.

To enrich the work, he developed his technique by painting with oil and using knives. His elaborate and obsessively multi-layered texture has become his core technique.

Today, Dirar creates his own portraiture style with knives and oil, adding thick layers over layers. Yet he manages to give the feeling of a quick rendering of a face before it is forgotten.

Perhaps the invisible that the artist is chasing in his work is the phantom idea of beauty, trying to continue the tradition of personifying time. In 2013, Chief Curator Rebecca Wilson from Saatchi Art selected Dirar as one of twelve most promising young artists from around the world to invest in, in the Saatch Invest Now Part II series.


As part of our continuous efforts to raise art appreciation and Arab art exposure, ArtTalks is excited to welcome Mr Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi, a renowned UAE-based columnist on Arab affairs, an influential Twitter commentator and most of all, one of the Emirates’ leading art collectors and patrons of the art. Al-Qassemi is the founder of Barjeel Art Foundation.

This time, we are inviting Al-Qassemi to wear his collector hat and talk to us about modern and contemporary Arab art, his inspiring journey into art collecting and Barjeel Art Foundation, where he preserves and exhibits one of the most important middle eastern collections.


“I never paint reality. I always paint a parallel world.”says Riham ElSadany (b. 1978), who is also known as Riham AbouSeada. Her solo show, “Fantasmagoria” takes place at ArtTalks gallery this month. The artist, who has a Ph.D. in Performance Arts, says that her studies of human psychology and the Egyptian personality inspire her work. Her influences include Amedeo Modigliani, Fernando Botero, Pablo Picasso, Tamara de Lempicka, Frida Kahlo and Gustav Klimt .


ArtTalks is pleased to announce the addition of Hady Boraey to its growing roster. His first solo exhibition at the gallery will take place in March, 2014. Born in Beheira in 1984, Hady el Boraey lives and works in Alexandria, Egypt. He received a BFA (2005), MFA (2011) and finally a PhD (2012) from the Faculty of Fine Arts, the University of Alexandria, with highest honors.  He participated in over forty group exhibitions in Egypt, Italy, the UK, Switzerland and the UAE. He received the medal of appreciation from the Bibliotheca Alexandria and various awards from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Alexandria.

With a distinctive painting technique and a thrilling imagination, Hady Boraey creates a poetic and dramatic world of fantasy of what could lie beyond all sorts of borders – of the earth, of one’s country or one’s imagination. He takes us on an imaginary journey and uses the unknown as a metaphor to highlight the fascination and hope of many young Egyptians to cross the borders of their own country to go settle somewhere ‘where the grass looks greener’.



PATRICK KANE AT ARTTALKS – The Politics of Art in Modern Egypt

On December 18, 2013 at 6.30PM 

As Another step towards cementing our mission of nurturing art knowledge and appreciation, ArtTalks is pleased to announce an upcoming talk with the renowned scholar and author Patrick Kane.
Kane has recently published “The Politics of Art in Modern Egypt: Aesthetics, Ideology and Nation-building.” He will discuss the prominence of several prevailing themes among artists in subsequent years from 1948 to 1970: El-Moulid, Nasser’s nationalist agenda, peasant-landlord relations and the rise of migrant labor.


ArtTalks signs Management of Sobhy Guirguis Estate

ArtTalks is proud to announce the signing for the management of the estate of the late Egyptian pioneer artist Sobhy Guirguis with the family. This is an important milestone to preserve, document and exhibit the legacy of one of Egypt’s most influential artists of the twentieth century. A comprehensive perspective will take place at the gallery early 2014 to commemorate the first passing of Guirguis.


Having departed this world at the age of 83, Sobhy Guirguis leaves behind an unparalleled legacy of avant-gardism, modernity and humanity. His body of work rouses a certain awe by virtue of his selflessness, naivety and indefatigable commitment to artistic creation. As we enter the realm of one of the more perplexing artistic psyches of the 20th century in the Arab world, we soon realize how his art creates a profound and intimate experience. His work is at once conceptual and emotional; minimalistic and complex; mature and childlike; ancient Egyptian and universal; abstract and figurative and above all this, human.

Indifferent to, or having chosen to be so, and secluded from his surrounding environment, Sobhy Guirguis sought relentlessly for answers to grasp the unexplainable human existence. Despite witnessing the fall of the British colonization, the 1952 revolution, the wars of 1967 and 1973, the American invasion of Iraq, and more recently the 2011 Arab Spring across the Middle-East, Sobhy Guirguis remained firm and more stubborn, unmoved as one could superficially conclude, sticking to his quest for peace and existentialism.


SOBHY GUIRGUIS was born in 1929 in Cairo, Egypt and lived and worked in Cairo. He received a BFA, MFA and PhD from the Fine Arts School in Cairo, Egypt and obtained a postgraduate diploma in Florence in 1964. Born to a family of musicians, Guirguis inherited the passion of music and transformed it into visual arts. He received the prestigious first prize for Sculpture in Alexandria Biennale for Mediterranean Countries in 1994 and the Grand Prize of the Cairo International Biennale in 1995.


ArtTalks pays tribute to the masters of modern Egyptian art

Zamalek’s ArtTalks Gallery currently hosts an exhibition of rare artworks by key figures in modern Egyptian art representing the artistic movements that emerged in the first half of the 20th century.

Works by Mahmoud Said, Mahmoud Mokhtar, Ragheb Ayad, Adham Wanly, Seif Wanly, Margaret Nakhla, Yousef Kamel, Ramses Younan and Fouad Kamel, on loan to ArtTalks from private collections, were presented Tuesday 12 November in a talk on the History of Egyptian Modern Art delivered by gallery founder Fatenn Mostafa.

Since its launch in December 2012, ArtTalks has been on a dual mission: to present and support young Egyptian artists, and to act as a forum for knowledge by familiarising the public with the roots of modern Egyptian art.

Therefore, while most galleries nowadays dedicate their space to works by more contemporary artists, this show provides a valuable glance into the artwork of the pioneers of modern Egyptian art.

During her talk, Mostafa took on the daunting task of covering four decades of art history in two hours. The seminar presented key painters of the first half of the 20th century while a small collection of their works adorned the walls surrounding the attendees.

The talk established three men as game-changers in Egypt’s modern art scene: Sheikh Mohamed Abdou, then the country’s mufti (authority responsible for issuing religious edicts), who endorsed art and refuted claims of its contradiction with Islamic principles; Prince Youssef Kamel, who personally financed art and founded the Fine Arts University in 1908, and Mahmoud Khalil Pasha, who established the first Museum of Fine Arts in Egypt back in 1927.

After decades of foreign occupation, the struggle for a sovereign national identity was the driving force behind the birth of Egyptian modern art, Mostafa explained.

The first movement of modern Egyptian art was therefore replete with indigenous identity, as many painters began to depict everyday life and ordinary subjects. This generation of artists also drew inspiration from their Pharaonic roots.

Among this group is Mohamed Nagui, who has been described as the father of modern Egyptian art, and assumed a number of prominent positions in art institutions locally and internationally.

Also among Egypt’s pioneering modern artists was Mahmoud Mokhtar, generally referred to as the father of modern Egyptian sculpture.

Other painters such as Ragheb Ayad and Yousef Kamel were also influenced by Pharaonic subject matter, and set out to chronicle intimate images from Egypt’s society.

“The importance of art is that it is a documentation of our history,” Mostafa commented.

The seminar delved into the life and work of Mahmoud Said, probably Egypt’s most widely known artist. Six of the master’s artworks are exhibited at ArtTalks for the duration of this exhibition.

In the works of such artists as Margaret Nakhla, who painted scenes in public baths as well as Church weddings, emerged a revolutionary depiction of the mundane.

Mostafa then presented the second generation of artists, the Art and Freedom Group. She calls them the “Tahrir Square of the 40s,” in that they brought forward revolutionary ideals and posed art as a tool with which to challenge oppressive forces in society.

This movement’s artwork was radically different from any other period in Egypt’s art history; surrealist and abstract art emerged, heavily influenced by Western artists and styles.

The works of artists who belonged to this surrealist art movement are also exhibited at ArtTalks until next week, including paintings by Ramses Younan, Fouad Kamel and Kamel El-Telmessani.

The exhibition runs until 20 November at ArtTalks.
8 Al-Kamel Mohamed Street, Zamalek, Cairo