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Safarkhan has the pleasure to introduce to you the talented artist Ahmad Farid who has successfully imprinted his unique stamp on the Egyptian contemporary art scene.
In his latest collection of works artist Ahmed Farid exhibits a calamitous yet enthralling depiction of the phenomenon of city life that is incessantly permeating and transforming the modern world. Seemingly overwhelming and magnanimous factors like globalization and technological advancement threaten to suffocate and dissipate the once dearly held cultural identifiers and symbols of ancient communities and civilizations, with the promise in this fateful exchange, of modernity, equity and a superficial innovative trendiness that societies are becoming more entranced by and in pursuit of, to their own detriment. Farid is himself a bi-product in his professional capacity of the dual perspective of post-1960s American pop cultural mythology meshed with his experiences and traditional roots in the Egyptian political, social and economical collective experience. Hand-picked by Safarkhan in this curation for his powerful imagery and unique portrayal of competing elements behind the closed doors of cities, Farid as a self-taught artist has drawn on his own opinionated position on the political and social dynamics that color Cairo’s vibrant city life.
Whilst many of the works in this collection elucidate a seemingly illusory or dreamlike quality with a mélange of an explosive and dynamic pallet, others are more disturbing in their portrayal of metropolitan existence, utilizing darker and more unsettling shades like mauve and purple color gradients and fiery and hellish oranges and reds that instill an almost nightmarish and ominous emotive character to saturate some of his pieces. Farid also uses the technique of layering of color and figures to brilliantly emphasize the characteristic charm and busy nature of these living communities he has depicted. He manages to establish a sense of disordered beauty by breathing into these shapes and figures of people a life of their own as they intermingle on the canvas. The works in this collection are all concerned with the recurring theme in a pictorial study of the complex and dynamic relationship between living shapes of humans and inanimate ones of looming architectural structures, and how Farid attempts to reconcile the two forces, at times competing for space, other times in a symbiotic expression of unity and togetherness as part of the same formidable mega-organism that is the modern city. Farid’s application of paint and color gives his works an additional other-worldly dimension even though much of them are indeed about very worldly topics like city life, human beings and architectural structures in competition with natural elements like water or the sky for instance.
Safarkhan’s curating of this exhibition has oriented Farid’s work in the direction which he and the gallery best believe portray the realities of city life through the ages. Some paintings are reflective of the relics of ancient pharoanic times through his careful usage of teal and golden hues, whilst others are more obviously a depiction of the harsh silhouettes of modern architecture and buildings that fill our cities, stark lines of black and brown taking over the entire canvas. It is this contrast along with the contrasts of the inhabitants of these cities, so diverse in their personality, lives and character that make up any collective living environment a place of unmistakable contradictions and opposites. Using bold colors to craft imaginative dreamscapes and harsher tones of pitch black and earthier browns, Farid decorates his canvases with the effect of a certain masking of the people living behind these towering and inundating structures and their closed doors. From thieves to charitable givers, violent policemen and criminals, the isolated bubble of wealthy elites to the downtrodden poor majority whose plight is often drowned out by the unforgiving metropolis. Farid seeks to encapsulate the complexities and competing narratives of these contradictions and the final result which is the summation of what remains behind closed doors, the different people, and what is apparent to the naked eye, the structural and architectural backdrop in which they are housed. Behind closed doors and the façade of the cityscape, from ancient pharaonic huts and temples to towering concrete buildings, the chaos of the city has within it boundless qualities that shape it, and the secrets within it, held by its vastly different inhabitants.    

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