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A president's father exhibits in Egypt
Published in The Egyptian Gazette on 23 - 03 - 2010

Under the title “Out of Mind”, the first exhibition of the artists Pal Sarkozy and Werner Hornum in the Middle East opened in Cairo late on Sunday.
Egyptian media, critics and artists have been flocking to the exhibition, despite the fact that computer-assisted art is still not favoured by most art critics here.
But thanks to his famous son, the President of one of the most influential countries in Europe, and his famous daughter-in-law Pal Sarkozy, father of French President Nicolas Sarkozy has got unprecedented media coverage for the exhibition.
The hottest part of the exhibition contains the portraits he did of his son after winning the election and a large canvas of Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, which was a wedding present to the couple.
"The portraits reflect the good relationship between the father and the son," comments his wife Ines Sarkozy, who denied that there's any tension in the relationship.
But what is also eye-catching is a self-portrait in two halves. In the first half, Pal is wearing a torn military uniform with no shoes on his feet, while in the other half, he's wearing a black suit and holding a cigar and a brush.
"The portrait tells my own story. I came from Hungary, penniless and almost without shoes, but eventually I made my way to fortune and fame," says Pal Sarkozy, whose other works show a tendency towards socialism and harsh criticism of the pressures of modern life.
He denies feeling jealous of his famous son. "There is no jealousy between a father and a son. I'm proud of him and he is proud of me and he likes my art."
In April, his son is going to open his father's exhibition in Paris. According to Ines, the Paris exhibition will not include the portraits of Nicolas and Carla.
Pal says that, within the coming week, a new book he's written about his life will hit the stores.
"Nearly 200 books have been written about my family around the world, but none of them has got it right and told the whole truth, so I've decided to do just that," he explains.
Hungarian-born Pal Sarkozy emigrated to France in 1948 after the Soviet forces occupying Hungary called him up for forced labour in Russia.
He was recruited into the French Foreign Legion and would have been sent to the war in Indochina, had it not been for a sympathetic Hungarian doctor who gave him a medical discharge.
He married Nicolas's mother Andrée, a law student and daughter of an influential doctor, when he was 22. They had three sons, Guillaume, Nicolas and François, but divorced when the boys were young.
Pal Sarkozy then went on to a successful career as an advertising designer and later as a painter of what has been described as ‘surrealist and erotic art'.
"The exhibition and the life of Pal Sarkozy is one of the models for integration and dialogue between civilisations," says Hungarian Ambassador in Cairo Peter Kveck.
"It's about how a Hungarian citizen succeeded in France and raised a son to be the President of France."
In one of his paintings entitled “The Immigrant”, he depicts a zebra walking down a street in a big city. Its stripes have turned into road markings.
Another painting shows the negative effects of the media and how they cause trouble. He also depicts the French fashion mania in 'The Fashion Victim', in which a giraffe is covered in tattoos instead of its natural skin.
Many of his paintings depict women. "My husband really loves women!" Ines explains.
But, in some of the paintings, the women don't look very nice. Does he really love women or hate them?
Egypt is the second station for this exhibition which was launched in Budapest last month. Pal chose Egypt for his exhibition, because of the good Egyptian-French relations.
The exhibition is being held under the auspices of Mrs Suzanne Mubarak and some of the proceeds are going to the Egyptian Red Crescent Society. It ends today and is open from 5pm to 11pm at the Four Seasons Hotel in Giza.

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