Oum Kalthoum shines in Egypt's International Forum for Caricature

Ahram Online , Friday 29 Jul 2022

Egypt's International Forum for Caricature concluded its activities Thursday after a week-long show where artists from around the world paid tribute to legendary Egyptian singer Oum Kalthoum in their works.

caricature forum


The forum, which opened on 20 July, was organised by the Plastic Arts Sector, the Foreign Cultural Relations Sector and the Egyptian Caricature Association.

In its seventh edition, the forum presented over 100 works by Egyptian, regional and international artists in the many halls of the Palace of Arts located at the Opera House grounds.

The forum was divided into two sections, the first tackled the subject of music as an international medium that promotes love and peace, while the second featured the participation of a large number of regional and international artists who paid respect to the singer through caricature.

Among the participating Egyptian artists was George Bahgoury, a renowned painter and caricaturist who has dedicated a large body of his work to depicting Oum Kalthoum.

Describing the singer as the "voice of the homeland" Bahgoury often depicts her with an open mouth. "I want to draw the sound, to underscore it as the main expression of Oum Kalthoum. Her face is secondary in the painting," Bahgoury commented. 

In fact, Oum Kalthoum is among Bahgoury's favorite subjects and she returns in many of his exhibitions. In an interview for Al Majalla (2013), Bahgoury explained that the “Star of the Orient”, as Oum Kalthoum is referred to, "nurtured many creative minds. The best poets wrote lyrics for her; painters and musicians gathered around her artistic power. Artists were creating because she was living and singing while all Egyptians embraced her magnificence. Oum Kalthoum made everyone happy."

Born in Luxor in 1932, Bahgoury began work as a political cartoonist in 1953, then went on to study at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Zamalek in 1955 under the guidance of Egyptian artist Hussein Bikar. In 1970, he continued his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Paris.

Throughout the many decades of his career, he has been mostly influenced by the expressionist and cubist schools. Among his many thematic choices, Egyptian folk art remains a dominant characteristic. His caricatures are featured frequently in Al-Ahram Weekly.

His works have been exhibited in museums and galleries all over the world, including the Louvre in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art in Amman, and the Museum of Modern Art in Cairo.

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