The Opera House in Cairo has seen the promising start of many renowned artists. For many generations, to step into the historic venue meant a chance to experience the country’s cultural and artistic wealth.
Last week, the Opera House witnessed the official start of yet a new artist. With bright colours and abstract silhouettes, Fawkia Hammouda welcomed an art-enthusiast crowd to get a glimpse of her personal world.
Her selection of paintings uncovered her most personal experiences from the last year. Meanwhile, it marked her celebration of life through a vibrant colour palette.
“New Beginnings is my first art exhibition; it is a collection of one year’s worth of paintings which take you through the different stages of my life with different styles, mostly abstract and surrealism,” said Hammouda.
Based on her personal life, the exhibited paintings went through the milestones of Hammouda’s personal life during the past year. From her solidarity expressed through “Girl in the Room” to meeting her husband, author Serag Eldin Yassin, and embracing art and life through her abstract paintings.
That said, standing in the circular musical hall and having all of her work surrounding her, Hammouda could not help but feel deeply connected to certain paintings.
“I have two most-emotional paintings actually. There is a scratch painting that is very close to my heart and “Girl in the Room”. Then there is my husband’s favourite painting, which is also happens to be my mother’s favourite, it is called Lily Pound,” expressed Hammouda admiringly.
Even though abstract art is not a common style of painting in contemporary Egypt, Hammouda’s thoughts came out more elaborate and vivid through expressive geometrical shapes and noticeable scratches.
“Actually, I feel like, sometimes, abstract paintings express my emotions more than other styles do—more than realism or impressionism. I do work sometimes with surrealism. For me, the style has to express my emotions, and whichever one unfolds those emotions on canvas, I will go with it,” said Hammouda while looking at her paintings.
During the opening reception event, many art-experts and collectors flocked through the door to check Hammouda’s work. Within two hours, many went through the circular arena, gazing at each and every painting.
“As a venue for my first exhibition and with the collection of paintings that I have, the Opera House was a very good option. The lighting and the area make it very convenient. On the other hand, it is also exactly where I met my husband last year,” said Hammouda.
With that said, Hammouda’s first exhibition did not come as a surprise for those that know her. According to the artist, painting has always been part of her plan. Nonetheless, the recent live events made it necessary for her to finally take that move.
“I started painting, when I was very young, then I went into formal education, where I studied political science before doing my masters at LLC in London. Then I came back to Egypt, planning to specialise in my field. However, I got married, and that inspired me to do more art. Since then, I have been convinced that it would be a shame to let go of that again,” said Hammouda.
The opening event witnessed a rather surprising high demand on the paintings. Before the short reception saw an end, many paintings were sold to Hammouda’s friends and growing base of fans.
“So far, the feedback is so good. It is great for a first exhibition and starting artist. I have not checked the sales yet; but, every once I while, I notice the stickers saying that the paintings are selling out,” commented Hammouda.
The artist’s supporting husband, who was standing a few feet away from her all the time, described his feelings and point of view regarding the paintings.
“I know that one of the people who bought paintings today is my husband; however, I am quite surprised and happy that people want to have those emotions in their homes. To me, these are not just paintings; they are emotions,” said Hammouda, while smiling at her husband across the room.
As for the artist’s personal choice, being emotionally connected to all of them did not make the selecting process any easier. However, she slowly but surely made up her mind regarding which painting to hold onto as they started flying away.
“Now that it is the end of the opening event, the more I look at the ‘Crowd’ painting, the more I think it is the one I want to keep in my own house. I love it, and I think it is a great painting; the colour scheme is unique. On the other hand, the emotions that went into it are also lovely,” concluded Hammouda.