Two new exhibitions open at Mahmoud Mokhtar museum

Farah Montasser, Thursday 16 Jun 2011

The Mahmoud Mokhtar Cultural Center exhibits new work by artists Wafaa Nashashibi and Rania El Hakim, and photographer Magdy Hanna

Man... Earth Connectedness

Opening both of its venues to talented artists and serving guests with exciting performances in its courtyard, the Mahmoud Mokhtar museum is currently running two parallel exhibitions, a joint exhibition by Wafaa Nashashibi and Rania El Hakim titled "Man...Earth Connectedness" and the solo exhibition "The Love of El Mahrousa" by Magdy Hanna.

On Monday 13 June, at 7.30 pm, attendees took their seats awaiting the Sufi musical show of the Egyptian Mawawleya band to perform their famous Islamic chanting and Tanoura dance. The group took the stage by storm and lasted all night long as audiences moved in between both galleries, Isis and Nahdet Misr, to examine the artists' latest collections.

Isis gallery featured the latest of the female artists' collection. Although both artists, Rania El Hakim and Wafaa Nashashibi, belong to different art schools, their talent succeeded in giving their work a unified identity.

"We wanted to bring new ideas to the art world. We combined my oil painting method and Rania's new school abstract thought together to produce this exhibition," Wafaa Nashashibi told Ahram Online.

Within minutes, Isis gallery was packed. All attendees enjoyed this unique artistic collaboration. Both artists managed to get their idea directly through; audiences felt both schools of thought merge and no one could tell who painted what.

"This joint exhibition came about by pure chance," says Rania El Hakim, "We are determined to develop art, and after working together for so many years we decided to revolutionise art exhibitions through modernity."

Some of their work addressed the identity of Egypt. Abstract paintings of Egyptian figures and architecture caught the eye with their harmony, contrast, and, most importantly, cheerful colours.

Rania El Hakim focuses on architectural schemes when painting, whereas Wafaa Nashashibi is more of a figurative artist, and the exhibition currently on display is "non-egoistic". 'Earth' is showcased in the architectural figures by El Hakim and 'Man' is represented by the Egyptian figures, commenting on the relationship between the human being and earth or the land to which he belongs.

In tandem, the Nahdet Misr (Egypt's Renaissance) gallery exhibited the latest photography collection of prominent Egyptian photographer Magdy Hanna. In his extensive exhibition, "The Love of El Mahrousa (The Protected)", Hanna featured the uniqueness of Egypt and specifically Cairo.

Although Hanna's exhibition wasn't as striking as that of El Hakim and Nashashibi, yet, through his images, he managed to capture the essence of Egypt. The images are interconnected as he displays the most significant civilisations that identify Egypt. Audiences see the heart of Old Cairo, with its famous Islamic and Coptic heritages, as well as the modern Egypt. Hanna also combines images of both civilisations with those of Nubian heritage along the Nile river banks across Upper Egypt.

Hanna worked his lens to bring out the Egypt that he loves, and knows best, in one room. Furthermore, he captured the greenery of palaces' gardens that have been overshadowed over the years with pollution, giving visitors the never-seen-before side of Egypt.

"In this exhibition I display the treasures of Egypt combined with its glory," Hanna says, "It is my historical and geographical journey through the major cities of Egypt, from Nubia to Alexandria, in which I capture with my lens the love that brings all Egyptians together."

Determined to exhibit the best works of the most promising and prominent artists of Egypt and the Arab World, Mahmoud Mokhtar Cultural Centre, with a new selection each month, promises to add more spice to Egyptian art ahows. 

"Man...Earth Connectedness" and "The Love of El Mahrousa" will run until 22 June.

Mahmoud Mokhtar Cultural Center, 5 Tahrir st., next to El Qahira Club, opposite the Cairo Opera House premises.

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