Egypt signs agreement with China to boost technical education    Egypt's minister Nasr calls on investors to take advantage of opportunities in tourism    Trump says it is getting harder for him to want to negotiate with Iran    Air strikes kill at least 32 in rebel-held city in Syria, rescuers say    Russia, Turkey are in talks on joint production of S-400 missile parts: TASS    Egypt's Salah, Senegal's Mane should be quickly fit: Liverpool boss    Olympic robots offer 'virtual' attendance, help out on field    Tennis: Jarry joins grandfather as ATP title-winner with Swedish Open win    Tennis: Australia's McNamara dies at 64 after quiet cancer battle    Dubai's Emaar, Beijing Daxing International Airport in deal on $11bn flagship    Iran's actions are unacceptable, says Saudi minister    Egypt's finance ministry auctions EGP 18.7 bln in T-bonds    Apologize to America, U.S. PresidentTrump tells Democratic congresswomen    New terms for firms working in free zones: Egypt's GAFI    Asian markets trade lower; Shanghai debuts Nasdaq-style tech board    Egypt's population hits 99 million – CAPMAS    Egypt extends state of emergency for three months: Official gazette    In Photos: 1st phase of Roxy Garage inaugurated on the 1,050th National Day of Cairo celebrations    Egypt urges nationals to abide by Schengen travel rules    Egypt's Sisi attends graduation ceremony for police cadets    Algeria crowned Africa Cup of Nations Champions after Senegal win    Sisi: Egypt supports development efforts in all Nile Basin states    Egypt's PM supervises implementation of Luxor's Corniche project    After appointing new female judge, will Egypt see more women in courts?    Egypt's PM follows up implementation of Luxor's Corniche development project    Egypt tells citizens that Saudi e-visa not meant for hajj    Algerian team came to Cairo to win AFCON title: Djamel Belmadi    Egypt, Uzbekistan study establishing pharmaceutical plant    Belgium's Port of Antwerp to develop bunkering activity in Egypt    Sudan's military, opposition sign 1st part of power-sharing deal    Peace with Egypt must be made: Turkey's main opposition leader    Egyptians Brace for Rising Prices Due to Subsidy Cuts    King Tut's golden coffin undergoes first restoration since 1922 discovery    Changing dominant narrative of women on stage    Explorations of music, sound, architecture of Islamic Cairo and everyday life    Farewell to Italy's best-loved writer Andrea Camilleri    Parliament Speaker announces end of fourth legislative term    Total of 59,455 expats in Egypt have undergone virus C screening    Renovation of Egyptian Museum to include installing new lighting, display systems    Egypt's parliament starts new NGO law discussion    Egypt's parliament's 5th convocation sessions to be aired live: Parliament speaker    Cairo hosts 6th meeting of Egyptian-Sudanese military committee    Egypt's parliament Oks new NGO law    Egypt inaugurates museum to honor late novelist Naguib Mahfouz    Bookmakers expects Egypt's Mo Salah might miss the year's Ballon D'or award    Fired MP detained pending investigations over corruption charges    Orange Egypt removes Warda from ad campaign after harassment case    Egypt sees national population growth rate to halve before 2052    







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





'Omar Al-Fayoumi in 40 years': Cafés, portraiture, street life in paintings
Published in Ahram Online on 09 - 06 - 2019

“Omar Al-Fayoumi in 40 years” is the title of an exhibition which took place last month at the brand new Tahrir Culture Center at the American University in Cairo old campus in Tahrir. Held at the Margo Veillon Hall — two spacious rooms and a small attic — the exhibition included some 95 paintings in acrylic and oil.
Al-Fayoumi's usual themes — cafés, portraiture and street life — are clearer than ever now as they recur at different points in the artist's career. But it is the vividness of his palette that continues to enthrall.
Born in 1957, Al-Fayoumi graduated from the murals department of the Faculty of Fine Arts in 1981, travelling to Russia to earn his PhD in 1991.
Ever since, his paintings have been showcased in many venues in Cairo. The artist's early paintings, made in 1980s, reflect a passion for classic portraiture. Influenced by his mentor Hamed Nada, he started sketching popular cafés in 1980s.
According to the artist, with whom I had the opportunity to chat in Tahrir, his life's work should be divided into before and after Russia. Before Russia, classic and experimental portraiture dominated. After, there were the cafés.
Omar Al-Fayoumi's work
In the 1990s, his passion for portraying life at popular cafés came to the fore. It was arguably his 2012 cafés exhibition that inducted him into the hall of fame of modern Egyptian art. But there are plenty of other subjects. “This was definitely influenced by the 2011 Revolution,” Al-Fayoumi told me. “It's influenced by my mood and the political atmosphere.”
And there are plenty of other subjects. Women, for example. One acrylic and oil on board from 1998 features a romantic nude holding a bunch of flowers, while a conservative woman's gaze dominates a 2016 painting featuring flower patterns on her nightgown and the wall.
Another powerful motif is cats, which he regards as spiritual beings. In one acrylic on canvas from 2010, two cats sit on a window sill. The black-and-white one turns away from the pane while the brown regards the greenery outside. In the more recent paintings, cats reappear as a companion or a partner of a female figure.
Omar Al-Fayoumi's work
A 2019 collection of male and female profiles struck me as somewhat carelessly executed, made to look like ugly and unfriendly dwarves, intimidating and repugnant — but could this be a new development in the artist's vision?
Al-Fayoumi says so: “They reflect the impact of cruel social and economic conditions. I believe an artist should be wide-ranging enough to be able change his style, his themes.”
Nudes take up significant space in the exhibition. “It is something that's been part of my career since the beginning,” he says. “But it's been reasserting itself.” It was never erotic, however. In the past it was about beauty, now it is a way of portraying deformity.
There is also a pair of scrap iron sculptures. They depict a free-spirited figure, playful and cheerful. The sculptures date back to 1997, when Al-Fayoumi accidentally ran into some debris from a workshop. “I thought, why not try to form a figure? It was a good thing to play with. Isn't art is about playing after all? I am seriously thinking about resuming this cheerful play with refuse...”
* A version of this article appears in print in Al-Ahram Weekly under the headline: Four decades later
For more arts and culture news and updates, follow Ahram Online Arts and Culture on Twitter at @AhramOnlineArts and on Facebook at Ahram Online: Arts & Culture


Clic here to read the story from its source.