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Safarkhan is pleased to introduce to the public the talents of Aswan native Omar Abdel Zaher for his first solo exhibition from October 20 to November 7. Abdel Zaher is a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Helwan and has been painting for three decades, and has notably featured in a variety of collective exhibitions including Salon El Shabab for nine consecutive years. We are now happily launching his career as a solo artist in what promises to be a stirring and vivacious exhibition of his semi-naïve and abundantly authentic expressionist paintings, which predominantly explore Egypt’s ubiquitous cultural markers and traditions, especially where they exist in their most unadulterated and exemplary form, the country’s bountiful rural communities.
Abdel Zaher captures the infectious joie de vivre of Egypt’s countryside folk, depicting with the most expressive and authentic zeal their daily lives and routines, and it is unmistakable how their carefree and jubilant nature is reflected in the artist’s compositional style which can be described in the exact same manner. Above all, Abdel Zaher is intensely truthful in his depictions of these rural scenes, which range from fruit merchants, water bearers, donkey-drawn carts, village festivals, celebratory events and more. We derive a sense of childlike affection to the characters in his works, which he imagines without any embellishment or deviation from their reality. However, his works are not hyperrealist in the traditional sense, instead they combine a certain naïve expressionism along with a clear effort to retain a faithful reproduction of typical scenes that are tethered to our identity and to this blessed land.
Abdel Zaher’s palette is unashamedly natural in generally subdued earthen tones one would expect to see in such settings, however he does punctuate these organic hues with bold and powerful ones like scarlet, aquamarine and radiant yellow gold, that although appearing spontaneous are unobtrusive and compatible with the subjects and themes in his works. He employs a type of block color segmentation that is emphatic, making the scenes he paints more vivid and prominent in our mind’s eye. This optimistic and cheerful palette is reflective of the many blessings of living on this timeless land, especially its far-flung rural communities. The beauty of Abdel Zaher’s paintings lies in his palpable affinity for the subjects he depicts and their way of life, they are the prototypical characters that have defined Egypt since the dawn of time, and through his art, he confirms that they will always have an indispensable role in our society, heritage and collective identity. In all, this exhibition is a unique blend of folk rites and rituals, with a certain cheerfulness and endearing innocence that is quintessentially Egyptian, we hope art lovers will enjoy this exhibition in person and support Egypt’s up-and-coming talents in the process.

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