PHOTO GALLERY: Inji Efflatoun: A Life in Struggle

'Girl and Monster' by Inji Efflatoun, 1941

'Girl and Monster' by Inji Efflatoun, 1941

'Loom' by Inji Efflatoun, 1955

'Crying' by Inji Efflatoun, 1956

Untitled by Inji Efflatoun, 1960s

'Sails Behind the Rods' by Inji Efflatoun, 1959

'Portrait of a Prisoner' by Inji Efflatoun, 1960

'Sold Trees' by Inji Efflatoun, 1961

'Portrait of a Prisoner' by Inji Efflatoun, 1963

'Freedom Tree' by Inji Efflatoun, 1963

;Tree Behind the Wall' by Inji Efflatoun,1965

'Beni Hassan' by Inji Efflatoun, 1965

'Queue' by Inji Efflatoun, 1968

'Workers' by Inji Efflatoun, 1960s

Untitled by Inji Efflatoun, 1969

'La Valle Vert' by Inji Efflatoun

'Collecting Eggplant' by Inji Efflatoun, 1986

'Afternoon at the Village' by Inji Efflatoun, 1967

During the upcoming month, Safarkhan Gallery becomes a museum, presenting a glimpse into the life of the artist and rebel Inji Efflatoun (1924-1989), and by proxy, presenting a history of modern Egyptian art.

Mentored by El-Telmessani, a founding member of the surrealist and fundamentally political Egyptian Art and Freedom Group – which was connected to the global surrealist movement Efflatoun’s first style was surrealism. She produced works entitled ‘Girl and Monster’ during this period, in which crouching naked women seem about to be consumed by a raging forest. Such pensive artworks convey a language of exploration and imagination, unleashed by Efflatoun after a life in the shadows of a sheltered upbringing.

As Efflatoun became more engaged with communist and feminist causes, her canvases started to depict workers, snapshots of protests and working women. Her rebellion led her to prison, where her style and subject matter were once again transformed. Behind bars, Efflatoun was able to capture a more raw and candid representation of the plight of women. Expressionism was born on her canvases.

After her release from prison, Efflatoun’s palette changed again and she started using less murky colours, and leaving open spaces in her paintings. Her paintings relay how much she cherished her freedom.

All photos courtesy of Safarkhan Gallery.