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Nagui, Effat Nagui


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Effat Nagui

In 1963, Effat Nagui was chosen as one of the Egyptian artists to participate in a journey to Upper Egypt.
This trip was organized by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture to visit and witness the stages of work in the Aswan Dam and record ancient Nubia before being submerged by the waters of the dam. Ten years prior to this date, Effat Nagui was married to artist Saad El Khadem, researcher in heritage and popular art. This stage in her life was a turning point for Effat Nagui, one that raised her at the peak of artists in Egypt and the Arab world and established her as one of the greatest artists in the world.

With such abundance of wealth and uniqueness in her artistic innovations, she transcended the traditional surface of canvas and shaped her relief creations with wonderful magical forms and dimensions going beyond the palettes soft hues to blazing colours drawn from the Egyptian atmosphere and environment of the South that permeate fragrance and radiance of civilizations, and evoke vitality and popular art. In fact, Mohamed Nagui, her brother, said to her before his death in 1956, You have surpassed me I remained a prisoner in my academic discipline and you have soared to the horizons of modernism with its wide ranging and unlimited scope.

During this stage, Effat painted next to her brother Mohamed Nagui pioneer of Egyptian pictorial and modern art with the same vision and disciplines she acquired during her studies in Italy in 1948. She later continued under Andre Lott, the world famous artist as well as researcher and critic.

She adopted unusual shapes derived from books on magic, from ancient Arab manuscripts, symbols, decorations, Zodiac signs, mechanical designs and luminous spheres of the universe from the mystique of all these inherited shapes that inspired her interpretation and exceeded prevailing modernism during and after her time. This placed her in an important and lofty status among artists in Egypt and the Arab world. Moreover, her name was related to a school, one based on abstracts and discovery of engineering origins in architectural construction integrated together with decorative forms a school with wide ranging ambitions influenced by music, poetry, the theater infusing an intimate spirit into the work of art.

Effat Nagui was the first artist whose works were housed in the Museum of Modern Art in Cairo in 1928 and after she passed away on 3rd October 1994 in her atelier in Moharram Bey, Alexandria at the age of 90 years. The atelier was demolished but Effat and her husband Saad El Khadems house in Cairo was transformed into one of the most important art museums.
Her innovations will ultimately continue to be a singular landmark and a great sacrifice.

Born to an aristocratic Alexandrian family in 1905, Effat Nagui was raised surrounded by the arts. Her brother Mohamed Nagui, a pioneer of Modern Egyptian Art, offered her an introduction to this majestic world and was famously quoted to say prior to his death in 1956 "You have surpassed me...I remained a prisoner in my academic discipline and you have soared to the horizons of modernism with its wide ranging and unlimited scope."
A disciple of the French artist Andre Lhote, Effat studied under his tutelage in Paris, and undertook her first trip to Nubia in the 1950s with his supervision.

Effat's painting depicting the Aswan High Dam isn't only monumental due to its historical content; it is also where she explores the varying latitudes and variety of modern art. Effat was selected as part of a group of artists by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture in 1963 to visit Upper Egypt to document the remnants of Ancient Nubia before it was to be flooded by the Dam waters; as well as the progress of the Aswan High Dam. The use of geometrical construction of the dam in the painting represents the departure of the rich and lively culture of Ancient Nubia to a more constricted and formally unified Egypt.

Nagui creates a transcendental piece through the employment of strict lines, but also softening these stringent effects with a rich yellow; a colour that embodies the Nile Valley and the hills of Aswan. This striking work elicits a need to hark to the past and aspire for the future; where Egypt is developing and growing while clinging to her resplendent history.

Effat's abstract representation of the Aswan High Dam provides a glimpse to the intensity of the change transpiring in Egypt in the early days of the Revolution.
Effat was committed throughout her life to promote the folkloric heritage and traditions of Egypt.
An aspiration, as she sought to separate herself from the didactic lines of pictorial modernism and to demonstrate the vast riches and diversity of the Egyptian identity and culture through a new realm of art.

Esmat Dawustashi

Selected solo exhibition:

At Alexandria Atelier 1948
At association of Fine arts lovers, Cairo 1956
At the Museum of Fine arts, Alexandria 1957
In Florenca and Rome 1962
At Golden circle gallery, Switzerlands 1971
At the French Cultural Center, Alexandria, accompanied by Symposium about Andriea Lout 1976
At Mashrabia gallery, Cairo 1987
At A-Qandeel gallery entitle` 50 years of Effat Nagy 1992
At Atelier 1999
Datum toegevoegd: 07/02/2012 door: De Kunsthistoricus
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