The artist’s fingertips have the feel of a magic wand, transforming everything they touch, changing their state, giving rise to a spirit that we could not have imagined.
Old junk, the remains of car, and used things, become, at the hands of sculptor Ibrahim Salah, a piece of art. With his work and artistic touch, the 27-year-old sculptor can turn scrap into a huge pharaonic cat, representing the Ancient Egyptian cat goddess Bastet.
“Sculpting was my hobby from childhood, which I then developed and made it my field of work and a source of income,” Salah said. “Scrap attracted me, with the most interesting and eye-catching work that I love very much being the art of recycling scrap and certain materials, such as pipes and car remains.”
Salah said that the statue of the cat Bastet took 30 days of work, consuming as much as 8 to 9 hours each day, to complete. He added that the most difficult aspect of the work was the choice of the circular shape, used to give the artwork an aesthetic form in the place or in the environment.
Salah, who designed the giant pharaonic statue from half a tonne of scrap, also described his other works, including a statue of the Ancient Egyptian queen Cleopatra that he created out of forks, knives, and spoons. His goal is to highlight Cleopatra’s femininity whilst also holding a great role in society as a queen.
Regarding the exhibit featuring coffee cups, he says, “This shape is known, but the idea is different and strange, as I made the coffee pot stand on a welding wire, and used cups, which are not sold or used.”
With the recent precautionary measures put in place due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Salah decided to use his artistic talents to carve and design works from scrap to spread environmental awareness. He sought to exploit materials that can easily be found in all homes, and use them in artistic designs. As a result, he designed a model of the coronavirus itself from simple materials, including nails and a tin plate, which took three days to complete.
Salah notes that he chose to work with scrap materials in order to send an important message to people about the prevalent throw-away culture, and to rethink the value placed on these materials. This includes sending out the message that scrap does not necessarily need to be thrown away, melted down, or just placed on building rooftops to gather dust.
Taking up on the idea of turning other people’s cast-offs into other people’s artwork, Ahmed Hussein, a designer and founder of “Location View” workshop, said the idea of his workshop was based on recycling waste and scrap.
“We seek to spread the idea of Location View in the community so that it can become part of our culture,” Hussein said. “We are looking to transform Egypt into a piece of art not only in one place, but in our homes, balconies, and buildings.”
He added, “This will be done by exploiting the scrap present everywhere and transforming it into a piece of art, while also planting in those places, and we will find Egypt has become a painting of heaven.”
Regarding his upcoming plans, Hussein says, “The idea of Location View is not limited to reusing scrap only, but we will conduct workshops to teach recycling of bottles. We also teach how to paint them and use them to make pieces of art. The idea is appealing to children from 8 to 10 years old.”