Misr gallery is back with an exquisite solo exhibition by Weaam El-Masry, “Untamed Bodies”.
Through her torn bodies, El-Masry portrays the dilemma of her gender in a male-dominated world her paintings resists through her jagged lines and strong colours dominated by black. Will these figures break out of their ordeal and surface in a space of light and peace?
According to veteran artist Samir Fouad, “Weaam El-Masry’s paintings recall Michelangelo’s bodies in his colossal altarpiece painted for the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel. They are twisted, traumatised bodies wrestling with unseen forces dragging them down to where they will burn in a raging hell. In their desperate ordeal they are trying with whatever energy remains in them to break free of this force and soar to where there is salvation, peace and tranquility. She tears her bodies and scatters them shredded across the space of her paintings. We observe arms and hands, legs and feet, torsos and buttocks, intersecting and convoluted, and to emphasise this tearing apart she deliberately turns them upside down. Like a Sumo wrestler trying to overpower a formidable opponent, El-Masry fights her adversaries projected in her creatures. The artist’s bodies do not usually reveal their gender, sometimes taking the form of a plump female and at other times a stooping and defeated male, but her paintings invariably overflow with masculine energy represented as negative or repulsive.”
Elmasry holds a PH.D. in media art from the Faculty of Applied Arts, Helwan University. She is a painter who at times moves toward photography, animation and installation. Her work has been exhibited in galleries, biennales and museums in Egypt and abroad, notably at the first Biblical Book and Book-Object Biennale, the National Literary Museum of Bucharest, the 10th Luxor International Painting Symposium, the Florence Biennale, the fifth Beijing International Art Biennale, the One Minute Film and Video Festival in Aarau, Switzerland and the Egyptian Museum of Contemporary Art.
The exhibition is on until 24 September.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 17 September, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly