"Kemit" is a series of paintings by the Egyptian contemporary artist Ibrahim Khattab, whose current artistic efforts represent a remarkable departure from the calligraphic style in which he emerged and rose to prominence.
Well-respected as a co-instructor at Cairo University for his outstanding community work in social and educational spheres, Khattab plays a crucial role in educating and inspiring Egyptian youth, both as an artist and teacher.
His latest collection, an attempt to revive and reinstate ancient Egyptian culture, and emphasize its timeless significance and continuity in modernity, is evidence of progressive development of palette, texture, and composition that are sure to brighten his star further.
'Kemet' was the pharaonic word for Egypt, meaning the black land, referring to the fertile soil of the banks of the Nile, the lifeblood of Egypt since ancient times. Khattab's inspiration for his new efforts is steeped in an inherent curiosity and admiration of the message of the ancients.
The works bear his trademark canvas treatment involving an over ten-stage layering process using old newspapers, street posters, and discarded publications.
This technique involves a skillful element of speed because of the chemical reactions he employs to create the psychedelic visual effects of his background.
Khattab intentionally leaves evidence of these layers on the sides of his canvases, which are also identifiable in places within the paintings on closer inspection, to highlight the conversation between past and present which is a key theme of this collection.
The creative effort that defines Kemet is a feat of personal accomplishment for Khattab, who shows a re-imagined, and indeed refined palette that is now more calculated and harmonious, such as his excellence in various blue & red tones, which the Pharaohs were known to master.
He also exhibits new techniques such as the embossing he uses in every piece around all the pharaonic imagery and motifs, which skillfully mimics the impression of bas-reliefs on the walls of stone temples.
However, far from merely reproducing ancient images, Khattab recreates and rearranges them in his artistic impression with an unconventional character that captivates him.
Each episode or piece in Kemit reflects a different subject, message, and exudes its distinct feeling. From the harsh to the tranquil, to the ethereal and beyond.
"Kemit" is this artists resolute call to reaffirm or pride in our glorious past civilization and harness its eternal message for the betterment of our present and future.
View Ibrahim Khattab's work on ARTSY
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* Presented by JM Art Management in collaboration with Safarkhan gallery.
JM Art Management