ArtTalks is proud to present People You May Know, the first solo exhibition of Walid EBEID at the Gallery.
The controversial and provocative paintings of Walid Ebeid range from poignant studies of the female figure to People We May Know in the Egyptian society. Notorious for tackling difficult issues like sexuality, immigration, politics and oppression, Walid Ebeid brings attention to the sufferings, struggles, and hopes of humanity. His realistic oil paintings have broken a great deal of social and moral taboos and challenged different customs and traditions imposed by society, to defend women and the oppressed of all categories and social classes.
Ebeid doesn’t portray women as super models who have perfect bodies and outstanding outfits. Instead, he prefers to dig deeper to touch their souls and feel their pain. In his paintings, each detail tells a new story. You can see the agonized look on the faces of his painted prostitutes or young girls forced into early marriage, and feel the oppression they encounter every day.
It is no secret that women and women’s issues are one of his biggest concerns. “I myself cannot fathom the reason I hold all this empathy towards women—as if women were the reason for me being an artist.” Ebeid listens to people as a psychiatrist in order to really feel their problems and the challenges they encounter: “The artist is a lawyer who defends any accused person when society plays the role of the judge. I am generally biased for injustice and those stripped off their rights.”
After graduating with a philosophical project that portrayed love, death, and art, the Cairo-born artist decided to get closer to people’s real lives and give them a voice to express their hopes and dreams. For Ebeid creating art is in itself an inspiration and is just as enigmatic to me as talent itself. His searches and experiments went through several phases to reach his current phase, which he calls “realistic expressionism.” His artwork resembles him closely. It is rendered in a state of truth because it expresses what occupies people’s minds, even when they are unable or unwilling to voice it loudly, and what they’re feeling. His art reflects reality and the changes taking place around us and mainly focus on strange things that we may quickly lose interest in, but leave a lasting impact.
“My art is for the people. And it is why people can relate to my art as if it is their own, and why they sometimes ask me to execute certain images, believing that I can express their feelings.”
Born in Cairo and raised in Yemen during his childhood, Ebeid graduated with a BFA from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Helwan University, in 1992. His work has been exhibited internationally since, earning him a reputation for his powerful expressive style.