Berlin conference: world leaders agree to uphold Libya's arms embargo, end military support for warring factions    Egypt's Sisi extends state of emergency for 3 months    Lebanese security forces, protesters clash for second night    Egypt's Shoukry, EU's Borrell discuss Libyan crisis    Egypt's Azhar cooperates with all religious institutions to achieve international peace : Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayyeb    UN condemns attack on Yemen camp that killed nearly 80, says it threatens peace    IDB profits reach EGP 512m in 2019    Madbouly chairs SCNW meeting on GERD's upcoming technical, legal discussions    Government to use smart technologies to promote tourism    No elections without Jerusalem: Fatah official    Quaint little hole in the wall downtown selected by CNN as Egypt's best Molokhia    Jordan parliament passes draft law to ban gas imports from Israel    Two Egyptian artists to participate in site-responsive exhibition at Medina's Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia    Libyan tribesmen say they have closed El Shahara and El Feel oilfields    Egy Lease to provide finances of EGP1bln during 2020    Harry, Meghan drop their royal titles repay £2.4 mln    International Film Music Contest accepts entries from a variety of composers, performers    Russia's Putin says he opposes unlimited presidential term    Live score: Liverpool v Manchester United (Egyptian Premier League)    Tennis: Djokovic the man to beat, again, at Melbourne Park    Honeywell, Etisalat Misr join forces to support Egypt's Smart City vision    West Ham fan protest is familiar ground for Moyes    Sisi, World Bank seeks further cooperation    Iran's Khamenei should be careful with his words: warns Trump    Parliamentary elections to be held in November: Baha Abu Shoqa    S. Korean companies keen on new industrial partnerships with Egyptian counterparts: Ambassador    No pressures imposed on Egypt to accept Washington's deal on GERD: Irrigation Ministry    Egypt's young pharaoh, TUT in Australia's Boston exhibition    Alexandria, Dekheila ports working normally despite medium rain    Iran's Khamenei stands by Guards after unrest over downed plane    Egypt's interior ministry says Mostafa Kassem received fair trial, was convicted terrorist    Egyptian actress Magda Al-Sabahi dies at 89    Egypt is best tourism destination for 2020 according to BBC    Government launches Upper Egypt's first cultural festival    Egypt names executive head of comprehensive health insurance authority – ministry    Nancy Ajram's husband charged with ‘intentional' murder    6th of October Rotary club trains undergrads for teaching literacy workshops    BBC names Egypt as best tourism destination for 2020    WHO says new China coronavirus could spread, warns hospitals worldwide    Ethiopian Dam talks to continue in Washington on Wednesday : Ministry    Mission Africa continues    Egyptian sports in 2020: challenges and opportunities    Tough Mudder obstacle course race takes place for first time in Egypt    NBE studies establishment of rowing club in Cairo    Egypt's Zamalek, Smouha presidents hit with disciplinary sanctions by EFA    Egypt's President Sisi pardons some prisoners on 25 Jan. Revolution anniversary    Egypt's Sami Anan released after near two-year detention    Liverpool's Mohamed Salah optimistic to see Egypt at 2022 World Cup    







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





The other side of the canvas
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 25 - 04 - 2019

“Beyond form” is the title of a new exhibition by artist Said Abu Raya, currently held on the upper floor hall of the Ubuntu Art Gallery in Zamalek. With 51 old and new works in various sizes media, as always Abu Raya is keen on provoking the viewers and offering a fresh perspective. All are informed by the same guiding principle of what is hidden beyond form. “It could be a concept,” he says, “or the the artist's life and soul, a reality he cherishes.”
In sometimes empty small spaces (a bedroom, a flat, a garden), using a cartoonish style of drawing, Abu Raya twice paints The Artist's House using ink and watercolour on paper. Recalling Gwen John and Van Gogh's takes on the same theme, he emphasises telling details like an old fridge, speakers and small paintings dispersed on the wall. In one, perspective is used to show a lit upper level contrasted with the dark and messy lower level. Like other pieces from “The Places”, these paintings were made back in the 1990s, and they reflect the theatrical awareness of a puppeteer and interior designer as well as painter and cartoonist.
Said Abu Raya
Colourful though nude, human figures appear in a huge new oil on canvas made this year. With hands that are larger than their heads, they are caged in a kind of display box. Another new painting, The Dice Players, features a living room with five men in blue stripped pyjamas. They are disconnected, two of them watching television, even as they supposedly engage in the game. The screen features a male news anchor who takes it all up, evoking the idea of a single source of information and a totalitarian patriarchy. In The Poet, a headless man sits in a cheerful and pretty garden with his head looking very sad in his right hand.
The Dice Players is in conversation with The Only Actor, a smaller ink on paper piece from 2001, in which a chubby man in a classic stripped suit bearing a strong resemblance to then president Hosni Mubarak takes up the whole space, with a sliver of a stage curtain and black and white stars behind him. But there is more to Abu Raya's political perspective, which is informed by the early influence of social realism. In a series of monochrome drawings called “The Members”, a group of men in black suits have heads like – condoms. “It's about the first revolutionary parliament, which was a great disappointment after the noble January Revolution.”
Said Abu Raya
Born in 1956, Abu Raya graduated from the Faculty of Art Education, where he has taught since 2009. He is an engaged artist who believes art must reflect social issues, and political power is one of his recurrent themes, with the clown and the football player standing in for the dictator. But it is in the effortless execution and the balance of elements, including form and content, that this work really shines.


Clic here to read the story from its source.