Dutch police detain more than 150 in third night of anti-curfew violence    Tennis: Djokovic is our LeBron but we have to call him out sometimes, says Kyrgios    Live score: Pyramids FC v Ahly (Egyptian Premier League)    Minister outlines Egypt's efforts to fulfill international environmental commitments    'Foreign media ignores accomplishments in Egypt,' SIS head says    Injured Tunisian protester dies, fuelling new clashes    What you need to know about the coronavirus right now    Egyptian Premier League fixtures (10th matchday)    Egypt's official gazette publishes verdict placing Muslim Brotherhood on terror list for five more years    Arizona State University names its new film school after Sidney Poitier    Misr Italia Properties launches a new phase at Cairo Business Park    Egypt's stocks close mixed, benchmark EGX 30 declines 0.14% on Monday amid local selloffs    Egypt launches website for vaccination registration    Egypt joins Netherlands, Malawi in supporting UK-led scheme to fight against climate change    German scientists make paralyzed mice walk again    Egypt's Agricultural Bank launches an initiative to settle EGP6.3bln for defaulting farmers    Egypt's Sisi to attend Police Day celebrations at Police Academy Monday    Indonesia seizes Iran, Panama-flagged tankers over alleged illegal oil transfer    Egypt, ILO launch economic empowerment program to secure sustainable jobs for youth, women    British supermodel Naomi Campbell visits Egypt    New daily Coronavirus cases continued to fall over the weekend    Egypt will inoculate medical staff with COVID-19 vaccination this week    South African mourns death of jazz 'giant' Jonas Gwangwa    Eight cabinet ministers to deliver statements before Egypt's parliament this week    Egypt's Sisi to inaugurate fish farming project in Port Said Saturday    Donald Trump says goodbye to the White House    BREAKING: Egypt resumes diplomatic relations with Qatar ending 4-year boycott    Egypt eyes gradual return for tourism after revenues fall to $4 bln in 2020    Seasoned Egyptian screenwriter Wahid Hamed dies at 76    Coronavirus strikes Egypt's youth team as 17 players, coach test positive    Nassef Sawiris plans to up his stake in owner of New York Knicks, Rangers    Cairo International Book Fair suspended for five months over coronavirus concerns    Egypt unveils largest archaeological discovery in 2020 with over 100 intact sarcophagi    Trump says won't blame Egypt for being ‘upset' over GERD dispute with Ethiopia    Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan to resume Nile dam talks today    Global Finance: Egypt's Tarek Amer among the world's top 20 central bank governors    The Facebook Preacher's Search for Fame, and Egypt's Economy    Egypt calls on UNSC to address oil spill risks off Yemen coast    Egypt economically strong in face of COVID-19, reforms ongoing: International Cooperation Minister    Arafa Holding reports $144,000 COVID-19-related losses in April    Egypt's efforts in Libya to activate free will of Libyan people: Al-Sisi    Hyksos campaigns were internal takeover, not foreign invaders: study    COVID-19 affects Egypt sporting clubs    COVID-19 will soon turn to seasonal like swine flu: Presidential Health Advisor    ‘Egypt's Support' coalition convenes to discuss its Senate election list    Robbery attempt leads to discovery of Ptolemaic monuments in Qena    Flouting international guidance, Ethiopia unilaterally starts filling its Nile dam    Zaha speaks out after online racial abuse    







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





Withered roses
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 15 - 11 - 2018

Roses are associated with love and romance, but they take on a different meaning in “Cup of Roses”. In this collection of paintings by Emad Abdel-Wahab — currently on show at the Dai Gallery — roses are a metaphor that combines sensuality with loneliness, reflecting on the wilting beauty of women in an Arab society. The women are the roses, society the cup.
Combining acrylics and oils (often on the same canvas), these huge pieces feature free-flowing nude figures. In one, two women — one sleeping, one sitting on the ground — are partly covered by the same blanket. The one on the ground looks to the one who is asleep. Her face is not visible but a balloon-like shape full of red roses rises from her head, balancing out a cup at the bottom of the canvas and suggesting communication between them.
Here as elsewhere the cup and the blanket — or carpet — are the key players, with a background full of stains implying blemishes or passivity and an odd, bold, surprisingly harmonious palette: green, purple, yellow, brown and blue. The cup manoeuvres its way around each canvas, it is inverted at the top or it is transparent in the middle, always positioned in relation to the roses which variously adorn the women's bodies or fly in various directions around them. The cover connects the women and protects them from both the cup and the roses.
As a young artist, Abdel-Wahab — who, after graduating from Alexandria University's Faculty of Fine Arts in 1998, earned a diploma from Rome's International Institute for Restoration in 2004 — was drawn to the grassroots: popular celebrations, children's games and other manifestations of life in Egypt. He earned his PhD in the philosophy of art in 2006, and received the State Incentive Award in portraiture in 2007 (for a series of tormented faces). He has often worked on male-female relationships and conflict.
“I was the first Egyptian artist to participate in restoration works at the Vatican,” he says proudly, which taught him how to control colours and mediums. It was also an opportunity to learn and practise drawing live nudes, which is not possible in Egypt. It helped to liberate me from the conservative mindset and enabled me to have a different perspective on life. Among the things I've come to see is how our repressive, male-dominated society has in many cases forced women to let go of their femininity in order to deal with the schizophrenic double standards.”
Emad Abdel-Wahab
This has been a constant focus of Abdel-Wahab's since his provocative 2009 exhibition Al-Kasiyat (or The Clothed) at the Opera House, showing women in ultraconservative clothing with the details of their bodies showing through). His next exhibition, “Saffron”, focused on traditional — exorcists', faith healers' and quacks' — treatments of women's psychiatric and social problems: saffron-water showers, lice removal and many such senseless rituals.
“Roses are also a symbol of the duplicity of values now prevailing in Egyptian society,” Abdel-Wahab says. “I wanted to reveal these contradictions, so that in the end the viewer will see there really is no cup of roses.”
The flatness of the figures suggests the possibility that they are all aides of the same single woman whose monologue the exhibition exposes us to. The faces are always obscured, and where there are clothes they evoke the strange juxtapositions of Wahhabi societies, with ultraconservative dress codes undercut by very casual touches.
“Arab societies have fallen into a trap: they can neither switch to modern dress nor stick with traditional dress. But I also want to show how women are seen as sex objects and the role of religion in what women are allowed to wear — how niqab can be used to criminal ends, for example. The idea first came to my mind when I travelled to Kuwait four years ago. I found out that male-female relations and concepts of sex are much worse there,” he said. “The longer I stayed, the more the idea developed. I finally started this project last year. I wanted to restructure the connotations of words and concepts so as to find a way to turn these phenomena to meaningful dialogues. In the end, roses are just a symbol, it could be anything opposing the confusion.”


Clic here to read the story from its source.