We couldn’t believe it either, but it’s true! Cairo’s famed Mashrabia Gallery will be participating in the 1-54 African Contemporary Art Fair taking place in London. It started yesterday, the 3rd of October, and will end on the 6th.
The fair’s purpose is to highlight the prosperity of African cultures in order to produce an exchange of ideas between them. As for the gallery, it will be showcasing pieces by Adel El-Siwi, Carmine Cartolano (AKA Qarm Qart), Heba Abu El-Ella, and Mustafa El-Husseiny. Let us tell you more about the artists, shall we?
Born in 1952, Adel El-Siwi emphasises the importance of the face as the most expressive attribute of the human body. It has become his trademark since the 1990s. He adopts powerful facial expressions to provoke its viewers, from innocent charismatic faces to intimidating, seductive looks. Overall, El-Siwi has no boundaries when it comes to art as he successfully works in Egypt and other countries around the world, taking part in many exhibitions and solo shows.
You may also look forward to the youngest of them all, who was born in 1993; Heba Abu El-Ella. The young artist dedicated her focus on visual art and light design. Heba’s level of creativity and talent cannot go unnoticed.
Moving on to Qarm Qart, who was born in 1972, the Italian artist has been living in Cairo for over 20 years. In his last body of work, Qarm Qart enacts a collection inspired by Naguib Mahfouz’s Cairo Trilogy, where he presents a series of tarbooshes, representing an imaginary world. He adopts certain techniques to provoke both inner mental and emotional spaces. His latest work was an attempt to connect with his father, as he walks through the cemetery in search of him.
Last but not least, Cairo-based visual artist Mustafa Ali Saad, AKA El-Husseiny, is well known for adopting his imagination as a way of producing “magical, symbolic, ironic, and macabre art” as described by Mashrabia Gallery. There are many things that make El-Husseiny a unique artist, but the one we can really touch base with is his ability to use allegories and symbols to get his point across, with the use of hidden messages that are not initially apparent to the viewer.
As you can see, Mashrabia Gallery did not just pick anyone to participate in its exhibition. Instead, it selected the artists that it can be proud of, the ones that have what it takes, and finally, the ones that earned a place. We are equally proud that some of Cairo’s best artists are going to showcase their work abroad, all while knowing that it is not a shock given that the gifted and talented here are plenty.