March is Women’s Month in Egypt, and art spaces in Cairo and Alexandria are marking it with exhibitions of works by Egyptian women artists that celebrate the creativity of women and the power of art.
The Art d’Égypte Foundation is holding an exhibition in Cairo of works by 16 visual artists committed to freedom of expression.
According to Nadine Abdel Ghaffar, president of Art d’Egypte, the exhibition is an opportunity for Egyptian women artists to showcase their creative ideas and to emphasize the strength of their creativity in the struggle for freedom of expression.
“We operate out of our belief that art can be a tool for bringing about societal change,” Abdel Ghaffar said in a news release. “The power of creativity has proven its importance and impact throughout the ages.”
The show runs until March 30 in the Kodak Passage in Downtown Cairo under the title “Ma’arad-Ha” (“Her-Exhibition”).
One of the participating artists, Weeam El Masry, told Al-Fanar Media that the event brings together different age groups and artistic trends with an intense dose of feminist art.
El Masry, a professor at the Faculty of Art and Design at October University for Modern Sciences and Arts, said the trends represented in the exhibition included expressionism, abstraction, fantasy, and mysticism.
The participants’ work revolves largely around the female world and feminist issues are the main driver in most of their experiences, she said.
“We operate out of our belief that art can be a tool for bringing about societal change. The power of creativity has proven its importance and impact throughout the ages.”Nadine Abdel Ghaffar
President of the Art d’Egypte Foundation
“In the works of Lina Osama, for example, we find the expression of women through dreamy and soft features, and they have a lot of mysticism and spirituality,” she explained.
“In my works, the woman’s body is dominated by wildness and daring,” she went on. “In the work of Nora Baraka, we find that there is always an expressive space for stories, and the art of storytelling that cannot be separated from the world of women, as each of us deals with the world of women from our own angle.”
The artist Lina Osama believes that each artist has a unique style independent of gender.
“I do not consider the artistic styles of women’s works to be different from those of male artists,” she said in an interview with Al-Fanar Media. “Some male artists express themselves very delicately, and some female artists use a dry and violent technique.”
Gallery: Celebrating Women Artists
This month, Osama will also participate in exhibitions hosted by the Faculty of Applied Arts at October 6 University, at the Karmet Ibn Hanie Cultural Center, in the Giza district of Cairo, and at the Mahmoud Said Museum in Alexandria. These various events “have artistic and societal connotations, as they highlight the remarkable presence of female artists in the art scene” she said.
Osama said it was a paradox that young women represent the majority of students in art colleges, while most of those who find professional art work after graduation are men, despite the efforts of art galleries to achieve gender balance.
Dedicating an exhibition to female artists still has its own peculiarity and significance, she said.
Most of the heroes in Lina Osama’s artistic world are women, especially after the experience of motherhood. “It became part of my expression of humanity, which is my expression of women and motherhood feelings,” she said.
“The participants’ work revolves largely around the female world, and feminist issues are the main driver in most of the artistic experiences offered by the exhibition.”Weeam El Masry
An artist and professor at October University for Modern Sciences and Arts
One of her paintings in the Art d’Égypte exhibition is an ironic simulation of the Classical Greek myth of the chief god Zeus, which asks questions about women throughout history. Other works by her focus on simple life, elements of nature, and primitive societies.
A fantasy painting of hers in the exhibition at Karmet Ibn Hanie Cultural Center brings together three famous women—the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, Princess Diana of the United Kingdom, and Princess Fawzia of Egypt—and places next to them the female robot Sophia.
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The cultural center is also marking Women’s Month with a group exhibition titled “The Universe”, organised by the visual arts sector of the Egyptian Ministry of Culture. It includes works by 63 artists of different generations, on the world of women, their issues and challenges.