Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada receive 313 tourists from Switzerland, Belarus    NCW calls for investigating harassment and rape allegations discussed on social media    ECES discusses Egypt's steps to solve GERD negotiations    Morocco's Hakimi joins Inter Milan    BREAKING: Egyptian Premier League to resume on 7 August    Egypt's National Election Committee to announce Senate election details    Egypt's Culture Ministry to re-open 16 public libraries after 3-month closure    Egypt is developing 4 vaccines, 3 drugs against COVID-19: Higher Education Minister    Japan's capital sees biggest rise in coronavirus cases in two months    Fire breaks out at Iranian nuclear facility, no damage reported, officials say    European jobless rise contained by government help    Police fire in air to keep crowds from Ethiopian singer's funeral    Live score: Manchester City v Liverpool (English Premier League)    Vatican summons US, Israeli envoys over West Bank annexation moves    Home prices in UK decline for the first time since 2012    Egypt's Zamalek to continue training Thursday, but domestic league participation unclear    Apple to re-close more stores in U.S, bringing total to 77    Twitter removes image tweeted by U.S. President Trump from its platform    Italy's Eni unveils new gas discovery off Egyptian Nile Delta coast    Egypt's parliament Oks supplementary spending bill for FY20    Ban gives tobacco illegal drug status in South Africa    Egypt records 1,503 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday – ministry    FACTBOX: Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus    Egypt's Court of Cassation upholds death penalty for 3 defendants in Ansar Al-Sharia case    Liverpool boss Klopp happy with African Nations Cup postponement    Deadly protests erupt in Ethiopia over killing of popular Oromo singer    Al-Sisi receives credentials of 6 new ambassadors to Egypt    Egypt's Migratory Birds project wins Energy Globe Award: Environment Ministry    Egyptian currency appreciates against US dollar as FX inflows rise    Egypt's cultural activities to resume mid-July    At 99, CPC governance legitimacy shines brighter in time of global uncertainty    Federation of Egyptian Banks denies funding GERD: eletreby    Saudi development authority starts executing phase I of giant cultural project    Lebanese government raises subsidised bread prices as currency tumbles    Egypt detects 1,557 new coronavirus cases, 81 deaths on Tuesday    Reopening the Baron's Palace    30 June Revolution preserved Egyptian identity from hijack: Al-Sisi    2 dangerous militants neutralised in North Sinai: Interior Ministry    Don't miss Al-Hadra troupe's two concerts at El-Sawy Culturewheel    Egypt's President Sisi opens Baron Empain Palace, two int'l airports    Inauguration of Baron Empain Palace important for Egypt's tourism sector: official    Egypt's speech at the UN Security council on GERD: Full document    President Al-Sisi inaugurates new national project developments in Cairo    11 coronavirus cases detected at Egyptian Premier League clubs – EFA    Egypt to host World Handball Championship on time despite COVID-19: EHF President    Liverpool's Egyptian winger Salah fit for Crystal Palace clash – coach Klopp    Egypt's parliament Oks amendments to House law amid differences over election    CAF draws timeline for resumed continental championships amid COVID-19    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Salah Taher's Enduring Art and Soul
Published in Ahram Online on 18 - 05 - 2011

Salah Taher, the prominent Egyptian painter, lived a wholly artful life. He would say: life is short, but art lives on. The paintings on display at the Zamalek Art Gallery, make their début on the 100th anniversary of his birth
The master Salah Taher born on 12 May 1911 (died in 2007)left an enduring mark on contemporary Egyptian art as an avant-garde painter, whose life was completely bedecked with art.
Zamalek Art Gallery is displaying an assortment of 100 selected pieces by the artist.
The exhibited artworks are mostly sketches and experimentations by the artist, emanating from a very dynamic and transitional period in his life. The prolific artist shifted from one art movement to the other throughout his career, which in retrospect emerges as an elaborately choreographed dance of form and colour.
The artist's enduring spirit
Mostly mixed-media on paper, the showcased paintings flaunt occasional rough lines and spills of colour that personify the artist's enduring spirit. Looking around, you are drawn into the inner workings of Salah Taher's art and soul.
Taher's art was organically linked to his being; he thought of art until his last breath.
According to Salah Taher's son, Ayman (also a visual artist), what makes this exhibition so dynamic is the fact that its pieces were never meant to be exhibited.
Taher's application of colour on canvas is generous; his palette is bright, frank, and candid. Texture is palpable, as the colours twist and swirl, ebbing gently off the canvas. At other times, paint is handled carefully; washes of diluted colour spill out unevenly across the canvas.
A liberating sense of volatility
The artwork evokes a liberating sense of volatility. Despite the wholly academic roots from which he sprang, the artist's career was a truly creative journey of an artist blending his own colours and breaking his own rules.
Taher kick-started his career by studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Cairo, where he lectured for two decades after earning his degree.
Deviating from the constraints of academic art, Taher experimented his way through. He shifted from realism to figurative symbolism and finally abstraction, for which he is mostly famed.
Major role in Cairo's art scene
Beyond splashing colour on canvas, the artist played a major role in Cairo's art scene. He was an art administrator as well as a philosopher in the field, inspiring his contemporaries with masterpieces and valuable conceptualisations.
Among the many positions that Taherheld includethe supervision of Luxor Atelier (1952), and head of the Modern Art museum (1954).
Salah Taher dedicated his life wholeheartedly to art. He cherished all arts alike and believed in the inter-relationships among different forms of art, and the need for harmony to pervade this intricate web of art. This firm belief in the dynamism of the arts justifies his appointment as director of the old Cairo Opera House in the early 1960s.
He worked as a part-time professor at the Faculty of Fine Arts, the Cinema Institute and the Faculty of Arts in Cairo.In the 1980s,Taherwas appointed head ofthe Society of Advocates of Fine Arts in Cairo.
A mythical character
The artist was also an avid reader, leaving behind a library of 40,000 books that delve into the arts, as well as human and art psychology. Ayman Taher, who inherited this massive pile of books, reminisces about his father with a buoyant smile. “He was almost a mythical character,” he says.
“He would wake up thinking of his paintings, and would put his head down to sleep with art still on his mind,” his son says. “Everything he did, he did for art.”
When Salah Taher would meditate, he did so in preparation for a painting. He would read extensively on human psychology, only to understand the fabric of the visage he would paint - his portraits were not a merely assembly of colours, they were a study of human life. The artist would say: I do not paint features, I paint identities.
Overwhelmed with the sheer rawness
Wandering through this intimate collection, you are overwhelmed with the sheer rawness springing from the painting left and right. Rather like pages torn from his diary, every piece carries Taher's free spirit.
Inks are spilled strategically throughout his compositions, satisfying your appetite for colour. Geometric lines disturb this sea of colour, pulling you in - and for a moment or two you are lost in Taher's maze.
A few paintings shriek with an artful randomness - black ink is twirled and splashed arbitrarily across the paper, garnished with bright red spots. The effect is erotic - the fierce movements of ink intrigues you.
Using acrylics, the artist is able to create subtle stories and overpowering texture. In contrast to his mixed-media pieces that are often drenched in colour, his petite acrylic paintings are decorated with bright tints. Figures appear amid gentle swirls of red, blue, and green, basking in Taher's intricate brushstrokes.
The sketches displayed boast a rare freedom and subtle mastery. They are also in a way, the personal doodles of a creative genius.
“Salah Taher has left us, but his art keeps him alive,” Ayman says with conviction.
The exhibition runs until 15 June at the Zamalek Art Gallery, 11, Brazil Street, Zamalek.

Clic here to read the story from its source.