Glimpses of Fear: Hanaa Nakhla’s first solo exhibition a journey in self-discovery

Ati Metwaly , Thursday 18 Apr 2024

Glimpses of Fear is Hanaa Nakhla's inaugural solo exhibition at the Hanager Art Centre (Cairo Opera grounds), showcasing not just creative works but also symbolizing a unique journey of self-discovery and conquering fears.


The exhibition, 14-19 April, is a testimony to the power of art in one's personal development and pursuit of dreams.

Nakhla is not a graduate of an art school, and her career was not linked to the creative field. It was in her 40s that she started painting, finding many therapeutic values in translating her passion into canvases. 

Born in 1966, Nakhla studied at the Faculty of Humanities, English Language Department, and worked in the field of human development. She founded her own company, Innovative Group Egypt for Training and Development, and became a life coach.
“I was always interested in psychology, analysis of people, and the psychology of creativity. Throughout my career I have accumulated this big reservoir of people, their depths, joys, and sadnesses,” Nakhla told Ahram Online.


The many people she encountered and coached needed to find a creative outlet. While art helped Nakhla materialize her experiences and emotions, it also provided her with the unique therapeutic values intertwined with her own self-discovery.

“I took piano lessons, enjoying music as a form of expression. Then my interests expanded towards visual art,” she said, adding that in many cases music also inspired her paintings. “I would draw what I hear, giving colours to the rhythms and melodies.”

Nakhla started painting in 2013. “I have always been passionate about visual art, yet I have never realized that I might have talent or even capability to paint. I took several courses with a variety of artists, including renowned artist Ahmed Abdel-Ghany. He helped me discover myself in art,” she said.



She began by trying out many techniques, from watercolors and acrylic to oils. “I tried everything, while my passion only kept growing. I continued art education, and at a certain point I started showcasing my work.” 

Nakhla’s first participation in a group exhibition was in 2015. However, her big dream was to have a solo exhibition. “This dream has become true through Glimpses of Fear,” she pointed out.

And while the title touches on a strong emotion of fear, Nakhla said: “The exhibition embodies the concept of overcoming fear. Fuelled by passion and driven by a dream, I persevered despite scepticism from those who deemed me too old to begin painting. Their doubts never deterred me; instead, I persisted. While fears linger, I always conquer them. Hence, this exhibition.”


The works on display represent many creative schools. “I am fond of German Expressionism, one of the dominant European art movements of the 20th century,” she added, touching on the emotion and ideas that inspire artists. 

“I found myself in expressionism. However, I also venture into abstract, surrealism, among other movements. Anything that helps me express myself will find itself on my canvases.”

The paintings on display fill Nakhla with pride; her dream is finally realized through each and every canvas at Hanager Art Centre’s big hall. 

As she looks at her journey in art she concludes: “It is about pursuing passion. This exhibition only encourages me to create more and paint more, as I continue my self-discovery.”


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