For many art lovers, Cairo is a huge venue with many different art platforms. Painting, photography, and sculpture have always been showcased at art galleries but, unfortunately, their main demographic is those who can afford the extremely high prices. In an attempt to change this limited concept, Hussein Gohar, a photographer, and Youmna Galal, a painter, decided to go beyond the common notion of who can access art. The two held their own exhibition to sell their portraits at reasonable prices and for a good cause.
For a change, both Gohar and Galal decided to go for a new concept in painting and photography: drawn photographs. “Beyond Photography” is an art exhibition to showcase this particular technique. An artist draws over printed photographs in order to add more dimensions and vitality to the piece. By combining the beauty of both crafts, these portraits have a unique, vibrant look, feel and texture.
Gohar, 51, is a gynaecologist by trade. His passion for photography led him to travel around the world to take new photographs in different locations.
“Photography has always been in my blood, but I’ve always treated it as just a hobby,” said Gohar. “For the past 10 years, I’ve been printing the photographs I took on my trips and displaying them in my clinic.”
His desire for travel and photography did not detract from his natural instinct to continue helping people. In fact, he has managed to bring his interest and passion together.
“Recently, some of my patients began offering to buy my photos, Meanwhile, unprivileged patients were coming to the hospital I work in, unable to afford the cost of treatment. That’s when I came up with the idea of selling my photographs and dedicating the proceeds to charity to pay for hospital stays and treatment for those in need,” Gohar said.
For his first exhibition, in collaboration with Galal, Gohar will showcase 34 pieces and dedicate the proceeds to charities and NGOs.
Knowing that portraits and photographs are usually sold at high prices, both artists requested for their work to be sold at reasonable, affordable prices. This in the hope that as many people as possible can participate in their good cause and help others. “We aim to engage the audience with our goal, as well as amusing them with good art,” Gohar added.
Galal said: “We want people to see the beauty of merging different art mediums. Drawing over a photograph adds a certain value to it. It also reduces the price, compared to what people would pay for a painted portrait, thus making it affordable for more people.”
Over the course of two weeks, Galal drew over seven photographs by Gohar with bright colours. “I mainly chose his photos of alleyways, doors and landscapes to draw over. These were the ones to which I felt I could add a realistic effect and bring to life with my paint brushes,” Galal said.
Besides the drawn photographs, the exhibition includes other photographs Gohar took over the past year in Morocco and Senegal.
“After all the political turmoil in Egypt over the past five years, it was hard for me to take my camera and roam the streets of Cairo taking pictures. People don’t accept that in the streets anymore. However, I wanted the exhibition to show recently taken pictures in a creative way, that’s why I decided to go with the pictures I took during my trips last year,” Gohar explained.
The exhibition takes place at the Shelter, an art gallery where amateur artists can showcase their pieces and sell them for low prices in order to help a good cause.
Pictures are being sold for EGP 1,500, while drawn photographs are sold for EGP 4,800, according to Galal.
The exhibition, which started on 2 April, will be held until 16 April.