The German embassy in Cairo hosted the opening of Mohammad El Nasser’s exhibition entitled Revolution of Colours between Light and Shadow. The German ambassador to Egypt Michael Bock and Undersecretary of the Ministry of Culture Hasan Al Meligy opened the exhibition, which seeks to provide a snapshot of Egyptian life post-revolution through the medium of oil on canvas.
El Nasser himself walked through the exhibition, accompanied by Bock and Meligy explaining what was depicted in each artwork. All the paintings capture a unique moment of Egyptian life, from a graceful image of two horses, manes blowing in the wind, to a group of men at a Moulid celebration. Many of the paintings depicted Egyptian women deep in thought and presented in stark colours which draw the observers’ gaze.
Also exhibited were a number of scenes from a woman in a square in Upper Egypt to a picturesque still of Cairo’s famous market Khan El-Khalili at one of its quieter moments. The scenes were well captured by El Nasser and the oil paint used provided a texture that would have been lost through the employment of other methods.
There were a number of paintings displaying scenes of daily life in Egypt, not necessarily doing anything exceptional but rather getting on with day-to-day life. For some this is sitting with an old friend on the side of the street, while for others it’s pushing their carts home after a long day of work. The paintings give a brief insight into these peoples’ lives. The power of the images came from the subjects themselves and El Nasser’s talent with a brush amplified these moments.
One element that struck me was how each painting seemed to capture a peaceful moment in a time of turmoil. One painting in particular was a panorama of a dark and gloomy scene featuring a line of old cannons. Amongst the cannons a white donkey grazes, seemingly oblivious to its surroundings. The revolution changed many things in Egypt, but what I took away from El Nasser’s exhibition is that life continues regardless and that colours and beauty can still be found amid the darkness.
El Nasser, speaking at the exhibition, emphasised the peace and beauty that can be found in Egypt. El Nasser is well placed to encapsulate life in Egypt, having worked as a journalist, photographer and artist in Egypt. He has studied the arts and his work has been exhibited in Egypt and in Europe. In Revolution of Colours, El Nasser employed all his skills and life experiences to provide a brief but intriguing glimpse of life in Egypt.