Little black and white figures give insight into social reality
CAIRO: “You don’t feel naive optimism; in a way there is a critical reality but in a way a peaceful observation and a very strong acceptance, says artist Hisham El Zeiny, referring to the new exhibition Installation by fellow artist Hani Rashed.
The showroom in the Mashrabia Gallery has been turned into a representation of the people of Egypt, with numerous little 3D figures spread out on the floors, walls and displays, representing local society.
Young Rashed explains that this exhibition represents his view of today’s society, with each group of figures representing a certain issue, a frame of real life. He stresses the idea of the family, which he feels doesn’t exist anymore, friendship, politics, death, sports, police and the recent elections all through his installations.
Rashed has been an artist for 12 years now and trained at Mohamed Abla s atelier for 10 years. But his day job is as a soundman for Egyptian Television, which explains the style he uses. The drawings and their distribution are illustrated in a sort of television style; the characters are sometimes comical and very cinema like.
The figures are put together in various forms; to understand some of the scenarios you have to get down on your knees to see the little figures interacting with each other.
Another artist who enjoyed the show is Cosima Lukashevich. “It really gives a feeling of the masses. It’s an enjoyable show; I like it on a human level, and the humor that he shows is typically Egyptian and it really shows an expression of the culture, the way Egyptian life really is somehow.
Photographer Thomas Hartwell enjoyed the exhibition. “I think it’s fun and it’s different and it is very Cairo . It is different from his other work completely but it’s great seeing artists go in different paths, he says.
Rashed was previously renowned for his paintings, winning four awards from the Salon of Youth. A prior show concentrated on insects and received a lot of attention.
For this show, Rashed first sketched people both in the TV building and out on the street. With carbon paper he transferred his sketches to wood, and with his sister’s help, carved out the shapes of the people.
Next, he painted the figures, using only black and white acrylic paints. Rashed says that he felt the meaning would come across stronger using only black and white.
“It is honest without any advertising or marketing. It’s pure and expressive on its own and doesn’t need colors to reflect the meaning, he explains.
El Zeiny says when he first saw the show he wondered why Rashed would use black and white when he comes from a generation of colored TV, “But he was right because in a way we are stuck in the ’50s during a ’50s traditionalism and ’50s revolution. That’s why although we have color TV we are still in black and white reality, says El Zeiny.
Rashed hopes that his exhibition will be helpful and feels that when people look at social issues from an artistic perspective it can influence them to get together and improve today’s social and political situation.
“I’m just exposing these characters of our society for people to see the simple Egyptian citizen, he says.
Don’t miss this show entitled Installation by Hani Rashed at Mashrabia Gallery, 8 Champollion St., Downtown.