Home History Exhibitions Artists Rare Piece Book E-Gallery Contact us
Download Press Release

Safarkhan art gallery with utmost pleasure will showcase the fourth consecutive annual exhibition for the pioneering woman, artist and social activist Inji Efflatoun, a shining example of modern Egyptian artists, as her reputable collections frequently feature abroad in international art festivals and conventions such as the celebrated Venice Biennale in 2015, which, marking its 54 years of existence handpicked 30 selected works from Inji’s exhibitions, . The unique lens through which Inji creates and captures her illustrations are framed within the socio-political prism of women’s rights and Marxist progressive activism in post 1940’s Egypt, movements in which she was at the vanguard as one of the pioneers of modern Egyptian art. Safarkhan is with a heavy heart and to part with the brilliance and originality of Inji Efflatoun’s artworks in this final exhibition of her remaining paintings. We were graciously allowed, along with the general public, to enjoy her illustrative presence for four consecutive years thanks to the generosity of Mr. Eng. Hassan Galal El-Din, the nephew of Inji Efflatoun, who entrusted Safarkhan with the exclusive mandate to exhibit her full body of work. This final exhibition ‘Freedom After Prison’ is the resounding conclusion of Efflatoun’s broad collection of works over her illustrious career as an artist and social and political activist, and as a testament to her longevity as such.


Efflatoun was born in 1924 to a traditional Muslim family and a privileged upbringing which ironically led her to discover Marxism as a social concept during her schooling years, it was through this infatuation that Efflatoun became well acquainted and involved in the plight of the Egyptian peasants and in women’s rights activism. It was shortly after, that Efflatoun underwent her fateful imprisonment, which would color her life experience from then on and compel her to produce her powerful artistic expressions. Efflatoun fostered her innate love for painting throughout her youth and teenage years with the encouragement of her parents and it was her private art tutor Kamel al-Timisani, a member of an Egyptian art collective who introduced her to surrealist and cubist aesthetics. Her paintings of earlier periods are influenced by surrealism and she was guided by her rebellious spirit to explore a variety of themes that were seemingly distant from her sheltered upbringing up until then: poverty, imprisonment, rural life and the ceaseless labor of the Egyptian peasants. Her devotion of much of her career’s work to peasantry and village life was borne out of her innate affinity for the fellaheen (peasants and farmers) and was in many ways a tribute in solidarity with them for their tireless work and unshakeable spirit.


These seemingly far flung rural communities of mud huts, date palms, oxen-drawn ploughs and laborious inhabitants toiling away the day’s work have been a mainstay feature of Efflatoun’s artistic obsession. What she demonstrates to us is that although they appear to be basic, underdeveloped and anti-modern, they are the lifeblood of the true Egypt that has existed for millennia, reminiscent of ancient Egyptian life that was untainted by the ills of modern society and development. Most of the works in this collection are set against a white backdrop, intentionally left blank by Efflatoun, a consistent feature of her later works. This conjures an almost secluded and strange quality as the whiteness that pervades the majority of these pieces directs and retains our attention on its subjects, whether it be the tiresome physical labor of the men and women, or the natural beauty of the majestic date palms as they frame idyllic and quaint village huts with their inviting charm. The vigorous black lines she employs to animate her subjects that are often engaged in some form of collective and communal activity are imbued with a sense of livelihood and perpetual movement that conveys the sheer physical exertion performing the chores of peasant life, so simple in its beauty and so captivating in its seclusion and purity. From the preparation of bread, erecting structures, preparing and mixing ingredients, to hoisting and heaving crops, picking fruits and their collection into baskets and the huddled Bedouin with their imposing rifles. All of these aspects combine in one euphoric symphony and synergy to establish the absolute treasure and natural phenomenon that is rural communal life, the experience of most Egyptians since antiquity. Even when using color to animate her paintings Efflatoun has done it in an almost half-completed manner, leaving vast blocks and spaces of untouched canvas, which provides her works with a unique unfinished quality that is suggestive of an imperfect organic beauty and tasteful simplicity that she characterizes Egyptian peasant life as embodying. Her color works emanate a sort of disheveled, busy and hectic aura, suggestive of the tireless efforts of Egypt’s peasantry but also portraying their daily lives in a manner that is both visually alluring and respectful of their commitment, as she does not deviate away from strictly earthy and natural color tones and hues that are emblematic of the Egyptian countryside. Efflatoun shows us that as much can be accomplished in the absence of color than in its presence, yet in her application of color we are reminded that she was exceptional at using watercolors discreetly and not in an overpowering way accentuate her timeless, and true-to-life representations of Egyptian peasantry and rural life.

Subscribe for Mailing List Sitemap Registration Login Shop online Shopping Bag
EGO Solutions

Subscribe for Mailing List

Subscribe to our newsletter and you will get the latest news - first.