Until 14 February, the Safarkhan Gallery hosts an exhibit featuring paintings by rebel and artist Inji Efflatoun, a pioneering figure in modern Egyptian art.
Despite her privileged upbringing, Efflatoun dedicated a large portion of her life to social activism and fighting for women's rights. For that, she is often referred to as an activist as well as a painter.
She was mentored by Kamel El-Telmessani, a founding member of the Egyptian Art and Freedom Group, a movement sparked by revolutionary Egyptian artists and intellectuals launched in 1939. The painters in the group, including Ramses Younan and El-Telmessani, adopted surrealism as a style, inspired by its subversive qualities and ability to challenge reality and the status quo. Efflatoun's politics and art were heavily influenced by the Art and Freedom Group.
The artist also became part of the country's feminist movement, and she co-founded the Lagnat Al-Shabbat (Young Women's Committee) with Ceza Nabarawi to revive the failing Egyptian Feminist Union (associated with feminist icon Hoda Shaarawi) that appealed to pro-communist women. She was arrested in 1959, however, during former president Gamal Abdel-Nasser’s crackdown on communist activists, and became one of the earliest female political prisoners. Efflatoun continued to paint behind bars, producing compelling works that capture the agony of life in prison.
Read more about the life and art of Inji Efflatoun here.
The exhibition runs until 14 February
6 Brazil Street, Zamalek, Cairo
Monday to Saturday, 10am to 9pm.