The role of women in the development of Modern Egyptian art and also the entire modern society of Egypt is soon to be explored through the exhibition Modernist Women of Egypt at Green Art Gallery! It will uniquely examine the period between the 1950s and 1970s in Egypt, when social issues like nationalism, womanhood, activism, traditions and multiculturalism produced a substantial environment for artists to develop. Featuring works by female creatives such as Inji Efflatoun, Vessela Farid, Tahia Halim, Zeinab Abdel Hamid, Effat Naghi, Marguerite Nakhla, Gazbia Sirry, and Margo Veillon, it will witness the evolution of the history of modern Egypt.
In 1950s Egypt, some quite significant legislations were issued to elevate the women's status in the society, and during this period female artists had a huge impact on the society through their innovative and brave works. The revolution that brought independence in 1952 offered a sense of hope for many artists along with a motive to portray new topics shaped by their yearning for liberty. Female artists were very active and affiliated with various movements happening at the time, where for an example Inji Efflatoun exhibited with the Art and Freedom Group, which used Surrealism as a means to fight back Fascism and art’s alignment with political propaganda. On the other hand, Gazbia Sirry was an important part of the Group of Modern Art, which used heavy symbolism in order to visually represent the national independence and social justice.
The entire art history in Egypt is strongly connected to the shift of political systems, where important changes occurred during the 20th century - from 1908 under the British colonial rule to the independence in 1952, followed by the era of the president Gamal Abdel Nasser. Artists were productive through this entire time and gave important responses and actions within these enormous changes, making the position of Egyptian Modern art unique in the Arabic art world. It is marked by its dedication to experimentation and progression, in tandem with the social and cultural consequences of many political conflicts it went through. Art became a visual component of the state policy, making the harsh realities of the living conditions and social struggles often poised with Egyptian mythology and folklore.
The exhibition Modernist Women of Egypt celebrates unique female legacies in the world of art and offers an important reflection on the history of Egypt, by dissolving the distinctions between the artists’ social backgrounds, artistic trainings, and styles. It will be on view from 22nd May until 27th July, 2017 at Green Art Gallery in Dubai. Do not miss this opportunity to re-echo what the women artists of Egypt witnessed during such an eventful era in the 20th century!
Featured image: Margo Veillon - Metamorphose, 1967, Courtesy of the artist and Green Art Gallery.