Egyptian artist Huda Lutfi's work featuring Um Kalthoum on display at British Museum

Ahram Online , Sunday 14 Feb 2021

Lutfi's 'Al-Sitt and her Sunglasses' is part of the newly opened exhibition celebrating the British Museum's decade of collecting contemporary art of the Middle East and North Africa

Huda Lutfi
Fragment of the work by Huda Lutfi

Egyptian artist Huda Lutfi’s Al-Sitt and her Sunglasses (2008), a piece featuring Um Kalthoum, is among the 100 works on display in the new exhibition launched at the British Museum.

The work is a playful collage of the legendary Egyptian singer, known as Al-Sitt (The Lady), wearing her signature sunglasses, and lyrics of the song Al-Atlal (The Ruins).

Running between 11 February and 15 August, the works come from the museum’s collection titled ‘Reflections: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa’.

The collection, which includes the artistic expression of artists born in or connected to countries from Iran to Morocco, represents over a decade of collecting contemporary art of the Middle East and North Africa by the UK’s museum.

“These artists reflect on their own societies, all of which have experienced extraordinary changes in living memory. From drawings by artists trained in Paris, Rome, Beirut, or Jerusalem, to works associated with the Syrian uprisings, the exhibition challenges perceptions of contemporary art in the region with a range of works of great complexity and beauty,” reads the British Museum’s press release.

“Reflections highlights issues of gender, identity, faith, politics, and memory. Also communicated within the exhibition, are ideas about poetry, music, and war. The artists, whether living in the countries of their birth or in diaspora, belong within the globalised world of art, and many allude to the artistic or literary heritage with which they are associated.”

The exhibition also presents works such as Nicky Nodjoumi’s The Accident (2013), Marwan’s Gesichtslandschaft (Face Landscape, 1973), Hayv Kahraman’s Honour Killing (2006), among numerous others.

Huda Lutfi

Lutfi was born in Cairo in 1948. She holds a PhD in Islamic culture and history from McGill University, Canada.

In collage, painting, photography, installation, and video art projects, the prolific artist creates works that at times explore the historical narratives of Egypt’s Pharaonic, Coptic, Islamic, Arab, and African cultural fabric. At other times, her work reacts to the dynamics of contemporary society.

Her work has been widely exhibited in Egypt and internationally, including galleries in the UAE, the USA, Austria, Singapore, and Germany.

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