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It is with great pleasure that Safarkhanintroduces "Encounter", a special exhibition featuring three diverse artists’paintings, sculptures and compositional installations showing from March 24thto April 24th. "Encounter" focuses on the creative journey of theseartists, and the relationship between them and the diverse cultural andcivilizational inspirations of their creations. Longtime Safarkhan residentartist Sarkis Tossoonian stars alongside fellow Alexandrian Alfons Louis, and completingthe trio, we are pleased to introduce to the Egyptian public the young Iranian paintercurrently based in Jordan, Farnaz Battikhi.

"Encounter" is our attempt to exemplify the power of art asthe world’s unifying language through exhibiting these three artists’ differingyet complementary works side by side in a unified celebration of boundlessharmony of different cultures. In this show, the curatorial lens is focused onspotlighting the magical confluence of civilizations whose indelible influenceshave served as the main animating factor of their selected works, each withtheir own humanitarian message. "Encounter" features the cultural and aesthetic markers of variouscivilizations and identities that color the works of these artists; fromPersian, Coptic and Islamic to Egyptian, Greco-Roman and Armenian.

Sarkis Tossoonian again delivers another captivating renditionof Alexandria’s historical significance at the epicenter of the culturalexchanges of antiquity. His latest works here exhibit a newly adopted finishingtechnique, attributing his pieces with a distressed and age-worn feelreminiscent of ancient ruins. This finishing contrasts with his now morerounded and curved forms, a clear departure from his characteristic style whichconsisted predominantly of sharp angles and edges, and an impressive seamless fusingof the modern and ancient.

Alfons Louis’s compositional multi-elemental artworks are themselves a thoughtfulmarriage of Coptic and Islamic influences, the essence of post-PharaonicEgyptian identity. Louis’ painstaking unconventional technique combines woodcarvings, manipulation of metals and glasswork and are what defines the innateuniqueness of his work. Louis’ compositional style is at once bothcomprehensive and experimental in the most alluring of ways and serve as aharmonizing tribute to the various cultures reflected in them.

Farnaz Battikhi’s miniature paintings are steeped in her ownheritage of Persian and Farsi art, rich in color, anatomical precision andreplete with imagery detailing a persistent exploration of the timelessrelationship between humans and animals. Battikhi’s paintings include dramatic profilesof individual women, decorative scenery that merges oriental calligraphic formsand patterns with feminine heroines and captivating renditions of fabledPersian epics and lore. Her work intimately addresses the concepts of femininebeauty, compassion, power and woman’s inseparable bond with the force of MotherNature.

Rana Chalabi’s work is cultivated through her deep interest in the metaphysicaland spiritual realms, through which she counts Sufism as one of her chiefinspirational forces. Her first foray into sculpture consists of humanfigurines and their connectedness and continuity with their foundations, asthough they were a seamless organic extension of them. The figurines aredisproportionately outsized by the bases out of which they emerge, highlightingthe insignificance of mere individuals in comparison to the awesome power ofnature and the divine. Chalabi’s setup uses plants and greenery to accompanyand complement her artworks, emphasizing their synergy with the natural world,and creating a soothingly holistic interpretation of the triage of God, man andearth.

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