Hazem Taha Hussein, Kraim Al Arayes, Mixed Media on Canvas , 80 x 120 cm – 2012. Image courtesy of Al Masar Gallery of Contemporary Art
CAIRO, EGYPY— Presently at the Al Masar Gallery of Contemporary Art is The Mirage II by artist Hazem Taha Hussein. Hussein is one of the foremost Egyptian artists, and his works reflect modern Egyptian art. Born in Giza, Egypt in 1961, Hussein is an Associate Professor of visual communication design at the Faculty of Applied Arts in Helwan University. The Mirage II showcases the artist’s new collection. Hussein is an internationally recognized artist and his works have been shown in museum and galleries across the globe.
Hazem Taha is well-known for his unique composition technique. He builds his work by overlaying Islamic patterns or motifs in the background in an effort to obscure or hide his abstract figures. He starts with the painting or drawing of figures, faces, or angels, and then covers them with paint, followed by plain areas. He finishes the work by superimposing over the entire surface, repeated and interlacing Muslim patterns or ornaments that he loves. The result is an optical illusion similar to a photograph. It shows a profile that is never motionless before the eyes, but constantly appears and disappears. The patterns superimposed on the figures create a sense of fluidity, movement and change. The last layer with its repeated patterns is the most interesting. It resembles to the repeated patterns typically found in Mosques forcing the spectator to stare at one point in a time. This view is fluid and will change at different times and at different states of emotions, leaving the viewer to endless interpretations and different perceptions, each time uncovering something new.
Hazem Taha’s works is a refection of modern Egyptian art that blends Western artistic tradition with Egyptian culture. Hazem Taha, who can be considered a neo-expressionist painter, has succeeded in combining western and eastern elements in his paintings to produce forms for the spectator to interact with and to relate to, thus evoking some visual dialogue. The works involve the spectator in a dialogue questioning the meaning about rather than the perennial appeal.
An Egyptian critic describe Hazem Taha thus: “In Hazem Taha Hussein’s work we can recognize writings, symbols with issues regarding politics, society and humanism that would generally remind us of our childhood and culture. Also we see symbols and icons from the streets, in our houses, schools, characters and books that appear to record moments and important incidents of our lives. His visual language reflects the extent of his interest in the relationship between the East and the West in many aspects.”
Hazem Taha’s works show the development in Egyptian art. As a foremost Egyptian artist, Hazem Taha continues to influence modern Egyptian art. By combining Western artistic tradition with Egyptian elements, Hazem Taha has inserted his work into global art discourse. In his works we see Muslim calligraphy, Islamic patters and Muslim art rendered in the expressionist tradition. Behind the Mirage in his artworks, there is a dialogue between the East and West.