“Blossoming”, currently on show at Safarkhan gallery, is a collective exhibition by four budding female Egyptian artists: Ghaidaa Ashraf, Kinda Adly, Yousra Hafad, and Sara Tantawy.
Each of these young women comes with her own message and promise across both abstract (Ghaida Ashraf, Kinda Adly) and figurative (Yousra Hafad and Sara Tantawy) styles. Although each’s art is distinct, they share the same lived experience and message of feminine expression, aspiration and, most significantly, achievement, in the first ever exhibition of their works.
Adly, half-Syrian and living in Switzerland, is fascinated with the commotion of cosmopolitan life with its vibrant colours and shapes. She recreates an alluring disorder in the form of pop art, in which she employs much abstraction.
Ashraf’s works began as abstract re-imaginings of geometric Islamic designs, before progressing onto an obsession with metallurgy, the components of metallic elements and their relationship in nature. Influenced by her Alexandrian origins, her palette reflects the vibrant maritime colours of her hometown.
Hafad is a teacher at the Faculty of Art Education in her native Luxor. In soothing minimalist renditions, her paintings reflect the female essences of purity, sisterhood and serenity. Using a rare monochromatic palette, her figurines portray a sense of anticipation.
Tantawy produces figurative art using a method expressive of grief, longing and a soul-searching quest for stability. Her canvases involve the stark separation of background elements from subjects, as though they were disconnected from the worlds they inhabit. Her work explores how ideas become our main enemy because they control our lives, overwhelming our fragile souls and bodies.
The exhibition continues through 23 October.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 17 October, 2019 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.