Youssef Sida Egyptian, 1922-1994

We can distinguish Sida’s work through his power of using primary colors in their purest form, which he characteristically applied directly from the tubes without being mixed with others.

Born in Damietta in 1922, Sida obtained his degree from the Higher Institute of Educational Art in 1945. Two years later, he was instrumental in establishing the influential Group of Modern Art. In 1949, he participated in the Egyptian pavilion exhibition in Paris. He was granted the prestigious Fulbright scholarship to study art at Minnesota University the following year. He then studied at Ivy League Columbia University in New York,  and began exhibiting his work in the U.S.A. shortly thereafter. He participated in the 1953 Biennale Sao Paulo in Brazil. 

 

Upon returning to Egypt in 1954 he became heavily active in local and international exhibitions. In 1961, he was commissioned by the Egyptian government to receive his P.h.D. from Columbus University, Ohio. Sida’s work in his formative years as an artist was mainly predicated on exploring popular Egyptian themes and scenes from daily life. We can distinguish Sida’s work through his power of using primary colors in their purest form, which he characteristically applied directly from the tubes without being mixed with others. His body of work also demonstrates a tendency towards the qualities and techniques of children’s art, naive in its compositional elements but in synergy achieving a notable expressionist sophistication.

 

In his later years, Sida began experimenting with Arabic calligraphy by concentrating on the forms and shapes that are dominant in popular Egyptian motifs and décor. We witness a certain dynamism and fluidity in his calligraphic pieces. Sida is also known for the huge murals he produced, depicting significant scenes from Egyptian political history in the early period of the 1952 revolution.