“Aida Opera” exhibition of acrylic on canvas paintings by Klay Kassem is currently on show at Samah art gallery.
An epic first compiled by the French scholar, Auguste Mariette Pasha and composed by Verdi, Opera Aida represents the conflict between duty and emotion depicted in the love between Radamis, the commander of the Egyptian army, and his Ethiopian prisoner, Aida.
Inspired by the story, Kassem explained, “In this opera I found what I was looking in terms of something to work on, for two reasons. First, my passion for painting operas and transforming the musical and moving image into a visual product without striving to achieve a specific scene within the story. Rather, the work is inspired by the philosophy of the theme of the story and its events. I expressed that in my previous exhibition on The Magic Flute. Secondly, my passion for ancient Egyptian art with its nobility and originality, and my certainty that our present identity is based on solid foundations from our past and the civilisation of our ancestors, which taught all humanity the meaning of civilization and the foundations of visual art.
“I found this tremendous integration within Opera Aida that I love so much, in which I find my characters with their costumes, decorations and symbols, the story of love, singing, and musical colours that were at times high-key and faded at other times with the strokes of the liberated colour with the flatness of the canvas and between the sobriety and reverence found in the graphic format”.
The exhibition is continued until 25 October.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 22 October, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly