Celebrating Ramadan, the “Madad” trio exhibition of paintings at Safarkhan gallery features newcomers Mohamed Hassan and Osman Young alongside Rana Chalabi.
Dedicated to charity, the exhibition was curated around the universal concept of madad (divine aid), with work that attempts to demystify the notion, emphasising the implications of trust, gratitude and divine connection it embodies. Remodelled Arabic calligraphy by Hassan and Young are supplemented by geometric re-imaginings of Fatimid Cairo by Chalabi.
Chalabi is an established artist living between Beirut and Cairo. Her work reflects a range of interests but is dominated by the theme of movement both physical and spiritual.
Her background in Islamic art , in which she holds an MA, and her work with the late, legendary architect Hassan Fathy are evident in her watercolours of Fatimid Cairo, as well as the architectural landscapes of the oases. Sufism is an abiding passion and her dervishes and dancers reflect that.
Using a fresh and expressive palette to complement her geometric approach, Chalabi presents us with strikingly original renditions of a frequently captured location to which she attributes a powerful sense of madad deriving from the sanctity and secrets of its timeworn houses of worship, its discreet and alluring alleyways and its seemingly ageless walls.
The exhibition is on until 11 May.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 28 April, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly