In his first solo show in the art-crazed Dubai, prominent contemporary artist Khaled Hafez exhibits a series of paintings and drawings drenched in symbols and iconography that attempt to unravel the complex, multi-layered Egyptian identity.
While Hafez’s artwork since the revolution has responded to the socio-political transformation resulting from 25 January Revolution, Moving Forward by the Day, which opens 17 March at Dubai’s Meem Gallery is less political and more cultural; this new body of work aims to depict the diversity of the Egyptian character.
Khaled Hafez explains it as follows, “What I am fighting against…what I am resisting…in my work is a public discourse that seeks to unify and impose a single truth, or ideology upon the rich and diverse reality of Egyptian identity.”
An enduring characteristic of Hafez’s work is contrast; his collages juxtapose symbols of contemporary culture, such as models cut out from fashion magazines, with ancient Egyptian iconography, for example.
The appearance of a multitude of symbols and icons that reflect the underlying themes the artist toys around with; such as the collision of civilisations and generations, assembled as busy collages bathing in paint and alternative materials, renders Hafez’s work constantly vibrant and dynamic.
"There is a new anger in this new work, an anger expressed in bright, even fluorescent colour, in the intensity of the brushstrokes and my use of black strokes," Hafez says.
"Sometimes you sing a capella and sometimes you scream. In this work I am screaming."
Meem Gallery was launched in 2007 and is dedicated to showcasing the works of prominent Arab and Iranian artists. Hafez says Meem is committed to documenting the art movements unfolding in the Middle East and that "their mission is to preserve the Arab world’s modern art heritage, while actively supporting contemporary works that continue to emerge from the region’s crucible of history and politics."
17 March - 2 May
Al Quoz 3, Umm Suqeim Road, Dubai