ArtTalks | Egypt is pleased to present the first solo exhibition of Alexandria-based artist Hady El Boraey as part of our mission to showcase Egypt’s most talented emerging artists.
by Fatenn Mostafa-Kanafani
In “Beyond Borders,” Hady El Boraey takes us on an imaginary journey of what could lie beyond the borders of the earth and the borders of one’s own land.
Does the universe have a border? And if it does, what does this borderline separate us from? Why does the other side of the fence always seem greener? Why are millions of young Egyptians dreaming of crossing their borders even if it means risking their lives? Webster dictionary defines the word border as ‘a line separating one country from another or as a boundary between places’, implying knowledge of what lies beyond. Since we first looked at the stars, humans have been fascinated by the mysteries of what lies beyond unknown borders. “Where there be dragons” and “Terra Incognita” for example were terms used by ancient Roman and medieval cartographers to indicate unknown or unexplored territories on a map. Today, these words have disappeared from maps as men have explored seas and continents. Yet the appeal and illusion arising from the unknown persist.
Hady El Boraey seeks to understand man’s fascination behind what lies beyond one’s borders. Challenging the mindset that the only solution for a better life requires a physical migration, Boraey questions the power of the psychological borders within our minds. With a distinctive painting technique and a thrilling imagination, Boraey has created a rich and textured world of fantasy depicting the illusion of another better life that could be had by simply crossing the border – be it physical or psychological.
Metaphorically and symbolically, he takes us on a poetic and dramatic journey to discover the tempting yet scary unknown and open new horizons. And while the mystery of what lies beyond the borders of the earth is grand and captivating, Boraey uses the edge of the earth as a metaphor to highlight the mental struggle to find a way to belong. This could, in the end, lead to a withdrawal from one’s society into a utopian secluded community to achieve a sense of belonging. The obsession and hope of many young Egyptians to cross the borders of their own country to settle somewhere ‘where the grass looks greener is but one way. For Boraey, Beyond Borders doesn’t necessarily mean more planets or far away lands, but rather a symbol of the relentless pursuit of happiness and the persistence of our youth to dream of a better life.
In a world with rising violence, racism, and wars, Hady Boraey offers a wake-up call that what is beyond our border – be it our country, city, neighborhood, or simply inside each one of us, may, in fact, be similar to what lies inside that very border we so seek to leave – that we are the same, that here and there, there is love and pain; there is hope and despair; a sense of attachment or loneliness. After all, the grass may not be much greener on the other side of the fence once we free our minds, and we may be better off taking care of our own grass.
Born in Beheira in 1984, Hady el Boraey lives and works in Alexandria, Egypt. He received a BFA (2005), MFA (2011), and finally a Ph.D. (2012) from the Faculty of Fine Arts, the University of Alexandria, with the highest honors. , He received the medal of appreciation from the Bibliotheca Alexandria and various awards from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Alexandria. He participated in over forty group exhibitions in Egypt, Italy, the UK, Switzerland, and the UAE.