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Safarkhan is proud to present for her first solo exhibition in Egypt, the rare talents of Neama El Sanhoury from December 14 to January 12. While she has been practicing as an artist for over three decades, El Sanhoury has yet to garner the acclaim her extraordinarily original art warrants in Egypt, after having enjoyed most of her exposure across Europe. Neama’s painstaking and compositional style of ‘textile painting’ involves her sourcing and then hand sewing pieces of various types, textures and tones of fabric onto canvas which she supplements with elements of elaborate collage work to create a variety of scenes spanning still life, landscapes, figurative and abstract pieces. El Sanhoury’s upbringing in what she describes as a cultured household is primarily what cultivated her profound appreciation and commitment to rectifying Egypt’s wealth of historical and civilizational customs and heritage, the rich common thread that unites all Egyptians. Naturally, she pursued her studies in a similar direction, specifically in applied arts as well as Egyptology in France, before embarking on her career in art. 
The inspirational thrust behind Neama’s captivatingly unique ‘textile painting’ stems from her dearly held childhood memories, which gave birth to her innate fixation on restoring into our collective conscience the memories of those ancient civilizations that we too often seem to disregard with ungrateful ignorance in the modern day. From the wellspring of art and knowledge originating with our ancient Egyptian ancestors, to the wonders of the subsequent contributions from Coptic and Islamic eras and thereafter, El Sanhoury seeks to rectify this glorious shared heritage and common thread, and present it to the younger generations with an unmistakable contemporary appeal as something to educate, treasure and venerate. Her ‘textile paintings’ are replete with symbols and motifs drawn from Egypt’s diverse civilizational history. These include hieroglyphs inscribed on pharaonic sarcophagi, traditional ornate yet delicate Coptic textile patterns, and the familiar wooden Islamic mashrabiya. Also, the more contemporary cultural markers such as the small copper gas burners and earthenware water pots, ubiquitous features in Egyptian homes and streets, as well as the typical and symbolic animals that were an eternal part of Egypt’s daily life, such as the humble donkey, chicken, ox and duck. 
Perhaps the most striking quality of El Sanhoury’s canvases are that at first glance and from afar they resemble actual paintings, her exceptional medium is not instantly recognizable, which is partly her aim when creating her art, to establish the impression of “painting with fabric” as she says. Her art features a ceaseless element of organic movement that only the effect of fabric could portray. She complements this with a palette that is entirely harmonious yet stimulating in terms of its soft, subdued, natural and earthen tones reminiscent of art from those bygone eras she pays tribute to and attempting to commemorate and resurrect in a wholly unconventional and original manner. It is because of this rare shared spirit and ethos that Safarkhan should make the fitting home for her moving art for many more years to come.

 
 
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