Egyptian revolution goes ‘Wireless’

Farah Montasser, Monday 11 Apr 2011

Spanish artist Xavier Puigmarti exhibition ‘Wireless’ is on at the Mashrabia Art gallery, a tribute to the Egyptian Revolution


Spanish artist Xavier Puigmarti exhibition ‘Wireless’ is on at the Mashrabia Art gallery, a tribute to the Egyptian RevolutionA few steps up, inside one of the European-style buildings in downtown Cairo, the Mashrabia Art Gallery was packed with Egyptians, foreigners and the media, to view the latest artwork by Spanish artist Xavier Puigmarti at his 'Wireless' exhibition, which opened on Sunday 10 April 2011.

Puigmarti’s exhibition includes colourful abstract visuals that express the freedom that Egyptians have achieved, through wireless communication connections and technology, during the massive protests that took place in Tahrir Square and ended when the president Hosni Mubarak stepped down.

“Although I began working on these pieces shortly after the Egyptian revolution had begun, I had the idea of ‘Wireless’ before the revolution,” says Puigmarti. “I  wanted to speak about wireless technology and its effects on the modern world we live in,” he explains.

An interesting painting at the exhibition showcases a small human figure, amateurishly drawn atop an electricity pole, carrying the Egyptian national flag in the middle of a yellowish landscape, resembling the desert. The wires of the pole are torn down and the figure is proclaiming victory and waving his flag.

Standing by one of his paintings, Puigmarti addresses his guests and the media in fluent Arabic, clarifying his ideas and the showcasing of  his paintings. “In the first week of the revolution, I was working in Fayyum,” he says. “I was thrilled by the will and courage of the Egyptians and was eager to come back to Cairo and start working on ‘Wireless’,” he told Ahram Online.

Among his other paintings is another large canvas of the galaxy with Earth occupying the bottom quarter. Here Earth sends out orange electric waves. In this piece, Puigmarti demonstrates the importance of wireless technology and the internet all over the world.

A collection of 12 small-framed canvases depict the Egyptian revolution. Some show a male and female standing side-by-side calling for freedom. Gender equality was among the topics discussed at this special exhibition. Wireless technology has given women leading roles in determining their future, instead of standing passively behind men.

Other paintings in this collection focus on how modern communication has improved contact amongst people. Here Puigmarti gives emphasis on the connection with intersecting lines of different colours, highlighting the interlinking points. These signify that the message is being received, while in the background there are simple figures of a man and a woman.

‘The Map’ is another piece of art that requires more than a quick glance. Puigmarti has drawn a map of Egypt highlighting its major cities. Though the piece seems clear, yet one cannot ignore the conceptual message behind it; of how these cities came together with technology and were united in Egypt’s peaceful revolution.

The most admired painting of Puigmarti’s ‘Wireless’ was a dark blue canvas with reddish-orange and orange streaks, portraying electric waves that cover the entire canvas, hence the world. It is these means of communication that brought people from around the world together, creating the global ‘One World’ idea.

Cairo is Puigmarti’s second home. All year round he travels back and forth between Egypt and Spain for his work and exhibitions. “I completely support the Egyptian youth because they remind me of the Spanish revolution; the end of Franco’s dictatorship and the transition to the Spain of today, a democratic liberal state,” he affirms.

Puigmarti’s idea of freedom and democracy is well-presented in his piece, ‘Spain-Italy-Egypt’. He drew the Mediterranean map with the three countries, highlighting the similarities among them. Gender equality here too is determined with a man and woman in the middle of the canvas, standing tall and communicating.

‘Wireless’ exhibition is on at the Mashrabia Art Gallery, 8 Champollion Street, Downtown Cairo, and will continue until 5 May 2011.

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