The most striking aspect of Amir Wahib’s exhibition, “Architectural Insight,” is the contrast in his work. Some paintings are exact and almost look as though they had been drawn with a ruler, while others are much gentler, with bold colors and blends.
Wahib’s work has been exhibited all over the world; in Egypt, the US (New York), Italy and Lebanon. His pieces sell for between €1,200 and €6,000.
As well as being an artist, Wahib is also an architect, which would explain his penchant for straight lines, and indeed, many of his pieces, especially from his clocks collection, are something akin to an architect’s designs. His art falls into the expressionism and fauvism genres.
The pieces that comprise this exhibition mainly depict doors, windows, chairs and portraits. The portraits are mainly of women. I asked Wahib about the significance of doors. He told me that he believes that for architecture to be without doors is to be without life. We are attached to doors. They are everywhere. Without doors, we would find ourselves in the desert.
The exhibition is housed in Wahib’s studio in Heliopolis. His father bought him the space when he was still studying in the Faculty of Fine Arts. The walls of the studios are covered with his own pencil drawings. Intrigued by these drawings, I asked Wahib about them. He corrected the term “pencil drawings” and pointed out that they are known as “exercise.”
“In these lines are all the shapes that anyone would think about. I’ve been drawing these lines since I was a kid, but not as clearly as this. I remember one time, I was 10 years old, I started to contemplate and draw on the paper of an exam and one of the teachers took me out because he thought that I was making a sign for the examiner.
“When I came back from New York, [where he lived for some time and exhibited multiple times], I thought about painting the walls of the studio or covering it with wallpaper, then I thought let me use my drawings, if it’s OK, I will leave it. Many people told me that it’s OK, so I kept it.”
Wahib said he’d been drawing and painting since he was a child and recounted a proud memory of his work being displayed in his school corridors. He went on to tell me about the artists who had influenced his work.
“When I was four years old, I remember my mother told me that Picasso has passed away with some sorrow, so he has a place in my heart, and all artists who paint interior scenes, on top of them Van Gogh and Matisse.”
“Architectural Insights” is on display at Wahib’s studio. Nocchio, 32 Andalus St., Merryland, Heliopolis, Cairo. Tel: 014 821 2273. Open 9 am-3 pm or you can arrange viewings by appointment. The exhibit runs through Oct. 15.