In our continued effort to support Cairo’s contemporary art scene, we bring together a selection of Cairo’s top galleries under the theme “Till We Meet Again”. This is our way to make visible the outstanding artworks from our collections as our doors remain temporarily closed. We thank the artists we represent for their perseverance, and […]12 May - 01 Jun
A painter, a political activist, a feminist, a prisoner, an author, a spokesperson, a wife, daughter, sister, and aunt, Inji Efflatoun was a multitude of personalities who succeeded in opening up more than one road. It was difficult then to know of which Inji to speak. We chose to begin our story with three important […]25 Mar - 28 Mar
Samir Rafi’s Cairo Years invites a deeper examination into the “Rafi’sm” school of art, thereby recognizing Rafi as the pioneer he truly was. As we take a closer look at the works produced between 1941 and 1954 presented in this exhibition for the first time in over six decades, we come to understand how Rafi’s […]25 Mar - 28 Mar
We are very honored to present: RAGHEB & EMMA 60 Years of Love and Art Married for more than half a century, Ragheb and Emma were never the subject of a joint exhibition – neither during their lifetime, nor after their death. Recognized as the ‘liberator of modern Egyptian art’ and widely celebrated for his […]10 Mar - 14 Apr
Burchard and the Egyptian Moderns: The Story Behind Egypt’s First Participation in the São Paulo Biennial The genesis of Egypt’s first participation in the São Paulo Biennial (1953-1954) is quite unsual. The story begins with a spontaneous application from a Swiss painter settled in Egypt after having lived in Brazil: Irmgard Micaela Burchard Simaika (1908-1964). […]01 Mar - 01 Mar
Are you ready for Chapter 4? The world of the Unknown has captured the imagination of Hady Boraey for over a decade. In his first show at the gallery in 2014, Boraey introduced us in Beyond Borders to an imaginary world of what could possibly lie beyond any border: the border of the earth, the […]21 Jan - 06 Feb
In 1911, the 20-year-old Mahmoud Mokhtar (1891-1934) exhibited a small gypsum sculpture titled Ibn al-Balad. It was part of the first exhibition of the first graduating class of the first Egyptian School of Fine Arts [École Égyptienne des Beaux-Arts] in Cairo. Ever since, it is said that Mokhtar proudly and rightly claimed to be the […]03 Dec - 31 Dec
EZ@ (Ahmed Ezzat) has many stories to tell. Stories of Egypt – past and present; nostalgia and hope; love and compassion. Stories of Egypt – from the nitty gritty crowded ride of a train to the famous heroes Egyptians grew up with. A former banker who constantly calls for social justice, freedom and bread for […]11 Nov - 25 Nov
Samir Rafi Uncensored sheds light on a puzzling artist, who seems to have never admitted that the grass is after all not greener on the other side.
Born in the Sakkakini district in Cairo on 15 August 1926, Samir Rafi was a painter, sculptor, arts educator and author. A prolific artist who used different media, (lost) objects, sculptures, drawings, collage, sketchbooks and tapestries, his tragic tale of hope is the subject of this exhibition. With more than fifty works spanning the early 1940s until his death in 2004, it invites a deeper examination into what Rafi dubbed in 1945 ‘an International Egyptian Surrealism movement’ or better yet, the “Rafi’sm” school of art, thereby recognizing Samir Rafi as the pioneer he truly was.
An ambitious individualist from the beginning, Samir Rafi was destined to an impressive career in his homeland. A prodigious trendsetter, he began his career in Egypt in the midst of World War II producing works that were far ahead of his time as a powerful mode of social criticism. His early interpretation of Egyptian ordinary life struggled and triumphed to express the huge oppressions, upheavals, and hard-won freedoms that have epitomized Egypt’s sprawl. In search of the unknown and the depth of human feelings, Rafi broke boundaries with visual innovations that linked Egyptian imagery with the human subconscious, and set out to draw a metaphysical blend of overlapping movements and styles to depict the Egyptian man, to which Rafi added ‘a universal soul.’ It was Rafi’s all-encompassing attempt at Egyptianizing surrealism, in search of a social and collective remedy. By 1945, Rafi had sealed the movement of “Rafi’sm” as a recognizable visual style. In 1946, he co-founded Jama’at al-Fann al-Mo’assir, an artist collective that became to be seen as the most inventive in twentieth century Egypt. This explains why the “Cairo Years” between 1942 and 1954 are generally considered the highpoint of his career, and cemented Rafi as one of Egypt’s most important revelations and artists.
Driven by the hope to achieve international recognition, Rafi however left Egypt at the peak of his career in June 1954. He remained abroad until his death, never returning, albeit for one month during the summer of 1964. Initially sent on a government scholarship to pursue doctorate studies in art history at the Sorbonne University in Paris, the then twenty-eight-year-old ambitious artist gambled when he decided to follow his dream of fame and to remain in Paris, leaving all behind and somehow getting lost along the way. But home in France did not seem fulfilling. In the summer of 1964, Rafi abandoned his career as a rising artist for a second time, ignored his thesis defense, and travelled to Algeria with a group of Algerian political freedom fighters. Rafi became a target and was imprisoned on suspicion of spying for the regime of Gamal Abdel Nasser. The sequence of events between Paris (1954-1964) and Alger (1964-1969), and back (1969-2004) turned into a long and painful tale. As someone who belonged neither in Egypt nor in France, his ability (or rather inability) to overcome obstacles became the subject of his work, which explains the more somber, enigmatic, highly sexual and darker side. As he reconciled different if not opposite aesthetic elements, Rafi eventually created a singular painting school that came to be defined as ‘Totalisme’ [Wholeness] or ‘Insaniya Shamla [Complete Humanism]. The ‘whole’ appears like “still” narratives with a mordant, or rather poignant wit, usually depicted in geometric and exaggeratedly executed brushstrokes. Animals played a significant role in the imaginary world of Samir Rafi. They are either entwined in the bodies of his subjects, or are their (sole) companion. What significance and meanings they carry offers a large space for interpretation. Along the way, Rafi’s themes became markedly more Egyptian, and a close alignment between his on- and off-canvas persona emerged, demonstrating a reclusive man torn between success and struggles, wealth and poverty, health and sickness, family and separation, fame and anonymity, freedom and prison, and eventually, loneliness and death.
Neither celebrated in his homeland, nor recognized as he had expected in Europe during his lifetime, Rafi’s legacy began to be revived when all his belongings in his two-bed room apartment in Paris were repatriated to Cairo following his death in 2004. Only then did Rafi begin to “taste” the appreciation he truly deserves in Egypt and the region, as well as in the so-coveted Western world.24 Sep - 05 Nov
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 […]05 Feb - 28 Feb
“The electrons and their crazy moves. The behavior of mysterious electrons and outer space. The picture changes depending on the type of observer. Humanity and its relations are simple points, relative to each other as an inverse image of outer space. All the time, humanity sends hopes as messages to the Creator. We live in […]15 Jan - 03 Feb
What do an apple, a loaf of bread and a bullet have in common? Mohamed Riad Saied: one of Egypt’s most distinguished late artists and certainly, Egypt’s surrealist painter by excellence during the second half of the twentieth century. Highly imaginative and classically inspired, Mohamed Saied Riad (1937 – 2008) is best known for striking […]02 Oct - 01 Nov
ArtTalks is proud to present ‘From Still to Life’, Rostom’s second solo exhibition at the Gallery. Rostom presents thirty drawings, where he blends Western ballet with oriental moments. Along the way, he invented a surreal or maybe an insane world, where extravagant belly dancers, Bedouins in their galabeyas dancing to the rhythm of their wooden […]27 Feb - 25 Mar
Sometimes we are forced to exile to heal and repress our wishes for the sake of tranquility but the rift imposed between a human being and a native place, between the self and the soul-mate is sadness and exile that only be surmounted with hope which is the drive to fight estrangement.30 Jan - 25 Feb
ArtTalks is proud to present Van Gogh is Innocent, an homage to Mohsen Shaalan, the late artist and former Head of the Fine Arts Sector, who passed away in 2014 at the age of 63. Van Gogh is Innocent brings to light Shaalan’s poignant experience in prison following his presumed involvement in the 2010 theft […]28 Nov - 17 Dec
once in a long while, you stumble upon a treasure trove – a pile of stunning works on paper that you are afraid to touch, damage, or stain.
as you glance through the trove, drawing after drawing, all you see or better yet feel, is eternity, infinity, peace. you stop. go back. stare some more. you seek to understand.26 Sep - 25 Oct
ArtTalks is proud to present As Time Goes By / Wa Daret el Ayyam, the fourth solo exhibition by Guirguis Lotfy at the gallery.
Inspired by a song by the Nightingale of the Nile (aka Om Kolthoum), the exhibition is an homage to love, its beauties and pains. A passionate Egyptian patriot, Guirguis Lofty uses his canvas to pay tribute to the extraordinary feeling of giving. A prolific painter, he is able to evoke visual ‘tarab’ and raw emotions.25 Apr - 14 May
Discovering Ghaleb Khater:
in search of a forgotten painter chasing justice
“I have tried to depict the problems of our country, which faces the whole world, in the hope that finally for my country a solution would be found, and that people’s lives would therefore become more bearable and full of will.”05 Mar - 25 Mar
ArtTalks is delighted to present Raas Baladi M’aa Asal Eswed, the first solo exhibit by Mohamed Taman at the gallery. Raas Baladi M’aa Asal Eswed literally means ‘Belly Dancing with Black Honey’. A pun on popular Arabic expressions, very colloquial Egyptian-Arabic in fact, the exhibition, as much as the unique painting technique, challenges first impressions and calls on the viewer […]17 Jan - 10 Feb
Today and after two years of trial and error to bring him over for a show, we present eL Seed to the Egyptian public and offer him our invitation as a token of appreciation. His Cairo show at our gallery builds around the noble Manshiyat Nasr project of Perception and will showcase a series of works on canvas and lithographs, inspired by his memorable experience with the people of Cairo and the kindness and generosity Egyptians are notoriously known for.07 Dec - 10 Jan
In ‘The Sweetest Haven’, 87-year old internationally acclaimed Adam Henein returns to painting with six new works produced in Harraniyya between 2015 and 2016. This time, however, he choses to explore the use of egg-based tempera, a painting technique found on early Egyptian sarcophagi decorations and many of the still existing Fayoum mummy portraits dating as far back as the 1st centuries AD.30 May - 16 Sep
ArtTalks is proud to present Alexandria-based visual artist Hady Boraey (1984) in his second solo exhibition at the gallery. After his highly acclaimed first solo Beyond Borders in 2014, Hady Boraey went on to complete his PhD and returns with Towards The Unknown.10 May - 29 May
ArtTalks is proud to present Renée, the third solo exhibition by Guirguis Lotfy at the gallery. In Renée, Guirguis honors his muse and lifetime companion. And when Guirguis is with Renée, nothing else matters.
It is not far fetched to draw the analogy that Guirguis Lotfy is to Egyptian visual arts what Salah Jahin (1930-1986) is to Egyptian poetry. Both celebrate Egypt’s cultural fabric while not shying away from its shortcomings. Tirelessly, Lotfy depicts our feasts, celebrations, rituals and traditions – some still practiced today; others long forgotten. Pharaonic, Islamic or Coptic, his stunning canvases offer a personal take on these little moments of bonding and shared history or on some trivial and mundane scenes with ordinary people.12 Apr - 06 May
Time goes by. And the years go past. And somehow and for some unknown reasons, we remain in love, infatuated by its sand, smitten by its sun, struck by its Nile, burdened by its glorious past, and bonded to its people. Sayed Saad el Din helps us understand, put some reasoning into this piercing feeling of attachment, of belonging to a land where kindness still exists hidden underneath the sand, where warmth wraps the mind and soul past a blazing sun, where harmony is concealed behind turmoil, and where hope prevails, though tomorrow is capricious.15 Mar - 09 Apr
As we reflect on the fifth anniversary of a defining moment in our history, Cairo-based surrealist painter Yasser Rostom sheds light on different aspects of the current geopolitical events. Featuring a new body of work in Doves and Crows, Rostom mixes literalism with symbolism to create layers of meanings and accentuate the ills afflicting the region as well as the hopes that could salvage the peoples.09 Feb - 01 Mar
After his highly acclaimed dual show with prominent Syrian artist Sabhan Adam in ‘Beauty and The Beast’ in 2014, Hossam Dirar comes with “Invitation Au Voyage”. A reference to Charles Baudelaire’s 1857 poem in Les Fleurs du Mal, Dirar seeks to create an imaginary world to liberate the mind and uses, symbolically and figuratively, a two-wheel ride, a very much en vogue transportation means in our busting city these days. The art of choosing an object, the bicycle, is to reveal a temporary world of freedom, an invitation to meet furthest away from politics, wars, injustices and violence, and to reach an unknown destination au-dela.08 Dec - 10 Jan
Maged Mekhail transports us back in time and space from Ancient Egypt to Babylon, and from Mesopotamia to further East. Rulers, traders, warriors, men of sciences and prophets crossed roads, ports and oceans seeking larger empires, flourishing trade and the spread of religion. Thousands of years later, their great grand-children are crossing the roads again – this time heading West, seeking refuge and escaping civil wars and violence. Crossing is no longer the means to enlarge one’s home, but rather the prevalent means of survival – to escape from home. In Many Rivers to Cross, painter and sculptor Maged Mekhail choses to ignore the slow decline of our present and brings to light our past by exploring the traces left behind the convergence of national, racial and ethical lines that supposedly should bond us together. He embraces the endless possibilities of remembrance and provides a multi-dimensional representation of the Egyptian world. The many different chapters across a span of thousands of years appear as fragments absorbed into Mikhail’s works, calling on a transcendent power to provide some meaning to guide our fragile present.12 Oct - 30 Nov
Silent agitators, Yasser Nabaiel and Weaam El Masry question the chains imposed by the (visible and invisible authorities) and the constant obligation for a seal of approval.05 May - 06 Jun
In the sculptural installations and wall objects of Egyptian-born, Vienna-based visual artist Hazem El Mestikawy, juxtaposition creates technically elaborate and thematically engaging works.10 Mar - 09 Apr
From Alice To Lust In Wonderland “It is impossible,” muttered Alice. “Only if you believe it is” replied the Mad Hatter. A dialogue between Alice, the seven-year old key protagonist and one of the fantasy characters in ‘Alice in Wonderland’, the nineteenth century fairy tale by British author Lewis Caroll. The Mad Hatter could be […]20 Jan - 03 Mar
“He-who-keeps-alive” was one of the words used for sculptor by the Pharaohs. In fact, Egyptian ancient art in all its forms obeyed one law: the mode of realistic representation of individuals – Pharaohs and deity in particular. Back then; artists endeavored to preserve everything from their present as clearly and permanently as possible. The context […]11 Nov - 11 Jan
Moataz Nasr Untitled September 23 – November 4, 2014 Out beyond ideas, Of wrongdoing and rightdoing, There is a field. I’ll meet you there. Jelaluddin Rumi, 13th century This quote from 13th century Persian jurist, theologian, Sufi and mystic poet Jelaluddin Rumi perhaps sums up best the thread tying the entire artistic repertoire of Alexandria-born, […]23 Sep - 04 Nov
If Salah Jahin played a pivotal role in the development of Egyptian colloquial poetry with an innate nationalistic flair, Alexandria-based visual artist Guirguis Lotfy is probably the only painter in Egypt.20 May - 17 Jun
ArtTalks is pleased to announce the duo exhibition of Sabhan Adam | Hossam Dirar: Beauty and The Beast, their first exhibition at the Gallery. Syrian-born artist Sabhan Adam (1973) and Egyptian-born artist Hossam Dirar (1978) challenge universal notions of beauty and ugliness, through the art of portraiture. Each artist presents his perception of individuality by seeking to bring out whatever is common with the rest of humanity. For Sabhan Adam, it is ugly. For Hossam Dirar, it is beauty.02 Apr - 05 May
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. 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 […]11 Mar - 22 Mar
SOBHY GUIRGUIS: The Self and The Other is the first posthumous retrospective for the remarkable artist marking the anniversary of his passing in January 2013. The show brings together over 60 of his most definitive paintings and sculptures, many previously unseen, spanning 60 years of artistic production, and reassesses his enduring legacy. Probably the most […]18 Jan - 21 Feb
“This is the first series of works that contain no figures. But yet there is a figure – the reflection of the person standing before the mirror.” Nadine Hammam Nadine Hammam opens her fourth solo show asking WHY. Through the exploration of the multidimensional and multi-layered word ‘why,’ taken here both as a linguistic […]10 Dec - 15 Jan
Born in 1978 in Cairo, Egypt, Riham El Sadany works and lives between Egypt and the USA. With a PhD from Helwan Fine Arts university on Performance Arts, El Sadany draws upon a diverse range of influences, including surrealism, Picasso’s childlike spontaneity, and Frida Kahlo’s transforming of pain and struggle into stunning canvasses. A […]25 Sep - 22 Oct
This Group Exhibition aims at encouraging novice collectors to go beyond appreciating art by starting to gradually build an art collection. Works by modern pioneer artists such as Seif and Adham Wanly, Salah Taher, Ahmed Refaat and Ismail Samy as well as established (Adam Henein, George Bahgory, Moataz Nasr, Huda Lutfi, Omar el Nagdi) […]19 Jun - 26 Jun
Weaam el Masry’s work explores issues of her native society especially the position of women, relationships and religion, yet is timeless and universal. Women in the Middle East are expected to be good housewives and mothers. Any other ambition becomes secondary, if not frowned upon. This is the dilemma Weaam el Masry seeks to […]28 May - 13 Jun
16 April to 07 May 2013 Alexandria-based artist Guirguis Lotfy will have his first solo show this month at ArtTalks | Egypt after over a decade of seclusion. Born in 1955, Guirguis Lotfy lives and works in Alexandria, Egypt. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Alexandria Faculty of Fine Arts in […]17 Apr - 08 May
Egyptian artist Mohamed Sharkawy will have his first solo exhibition in the region at ArtTalks gallery as part of our mission to act as a search engine for Egypt’s most promising talents. Born in Qena, Upper Egypt in 1982, Sharkawy was raised in Upper Egypt and then moved to Cairo and finally he currently lives […]14 Mar - 24 Mar
As part of our mission to act as a search engine for Egypt’s next generation of Contemporary Artists, ArtTalks | Egypt is proud to present the first solo show for emerging artist Maged Mekhail. Born in 1982, Maged Mekhail graduated from the Helwan Fine Arts faculty in 2004, after which he trained during 4 […]13 Feb - 01 Mar
In its inaugural show, ArtTalks | Egypt brings together a collective show entitled Long Live Free Art!, inspired by the manifesto of the Egyptian Art and Freedom Group. A roster of internationally acclaimed and emerging artists participates in an effort to voice their call for freedom in creativity and expression on behalf of Egypt and […]18 Dec - 15 Jan