Farghali’s work is political, but subdued and optimistic
Lawrie Shabibi is to present \"Past and Present Encounter\", the first solo exhibition in the Gulf for Farghali Abdel Hafiz, one of Egypt\'s most established artists. The exhibition celebrates Farghali\'s long career with eight new works from his latest
series, as well as four earlier paintings outlining the development of his work from the late 1970s to the present day.
Farghali Abdel Hafiz\'s sensual, highly textured canvases are filled with expanses of saturated colour and finely drawn detail. His work shows his deep concern with well being, looking to both high and low culture, and often carrying a political message. He plays with ideas of Egyptian culture, history and exoticism producing a highly seductive art of braided connections that both physically and metaphorically work on many levels. In his world modern life and
ancient history can comfortably co-exist.
Farghali lives and works in Dahshur, one of the most ancient historical sites in Egypt and home to a number of major pyramids from the Old Kingdom and his work is strongly rooted in the identification with his environment where the pace of life is little changed from that time. Farghali lives and breathes the place through his work, which provides him with a quiet and spiritual environment, a sanctuary from the nearby urban sprawl. Farghali fuses his bold unmixed colours
with materials taken directly from his immediate surroundings, including straw, sand, mud and clay, to create a highly expressive, spontaneous style.
Since its second revolution, Egypt has been held in the midst of a series of changes, the outcome of which cannot be predicted. With a disputed constitution and protests repeatedly breaking out throughout the country, Farghali\'s current work is a reaction to these crises, to reflect both his concern, but also his optimism that the positive aspects of the country will continue. Stylistically his new work develops the themes and techniques he had recently been exploring, but replacing the mud and straw of the past with coloured desert sands.
The connotation of the eight new works he presents in this exhibition has become more political- unsurprising given the country\'s recent events - yet the message is subdued and optimistic. This latest series incorporates collage photograph portraits, which highlight twentieth century Egyptian political and cultural figures, from a time when Egypt was rightly proud. These are the important matters for Farghali - art, culture and freedom of thought - the essence of his idea of Egypt and which he aspires to live on.
Born in 1941 and a graduate of the Academy of Fine Art in Florence, Farghali Abdel Hafiz represented Egypt in several biennials, including Sao Paolo in 1985, Venice in 1972, 1987 and 1993, and China in 2002, and in 1996 he as the General Curator for the Cairo Biennial. He was a founder of the Axis Group in 1981, one of the most influential art movements in Egypt in the Post-Modern period. He has held over twenty international exhibitions in Europe and the United States.
The exhibition will be on show from January 14 to March 3.