Inji Efflatoun, the pioneer female artist and activist, is a shining example of the very best of modern Egyptian art. In the post-1940 Egyptian movements that she was at the forefront of, the particular lens through which Inji produces her drawings is presented within the socio-political prism of women's rights and Marxist progressive activism.
Born in 1924, she was raised in an upper-class family. Ironically, it led her to experience Marxism during her school years. It was through this infatuation that Efflatoun became a socio-political activist for many purposes.
Her fateful imprisonment in 1959 would color her life experience from then on and crystallize her unique artistic style. Guided primarily by her rebellious spirit, Efflatoun explored themes much further taken away from her sheltered upbringing: poverty, imprisonment, women's rights, political activism, and the ceaseless labor of Egyptian peasants. This special collection is presented with the concept of displaying the remains of Inji's visual memoirs. A thematic and chronological retelling of Efflatoun's exceptionally eventful and inspiring life story.
In 1942, at the age of 18, her mentor, Kamel al-Timisany, introduced her to surrealist and cubist schools. Inji quickly became involved in more noble causes outside the world of art. Therefore, this collection gathers examples from her period, first as an influential women's rights and political activist, then her imprisonment as a communist, followed by her depiction of British colonial oppression and the occupation of Palestine.
Predominantly featuring throughout her artistic devotion to the daily lives of Egyptian peasants and farmers. Efflatoun harbored an innate affinity for these rural communities, believing they were Egypt’s lifeblood.
Since antiquity, being the most frequent subjects of her art was her tribute in solidarity with them for their tireless work and an unshakeable spirit.
These far-flung rural communities of mud huts, date palms, oxen-drawn ploughs, and laborious inhabitants toiling away the day’s work have been a mainstay of Efflatoun’s artistic obsession. She demonstrates to us is that what appears to be basic, underdeveloped, and outdated, are the essence of the true Egypt that has existed for millennia. Reminiscent of ancient Egyptian life that was untainted by the ills of modern politics and society.
In contrast with Gazbia Sirry’s violence, Injy Eflatoun’s expressionism has the soft touch of silk, especially in her "white" period, in which she gave the white of the canvas an active role in illuminating the picture. She was strongly influenced by Pointillism as can be seen in her painting exhibited here called "Picking Oranges", in which she succeeds in painting what is almost an oriental tapestry. Here she has adapted Van Gogh’s spirals and curves, but gives them a feminine touch, and discards the violent colors so that the painting becomes soft and delicate.
In 1975, Mrs. Efflatoun helped organize the "Ten Egyptian Woman Artist in half a Century" exhibition, held in Cairo on the occasion of the International year for women, and in which she took part. In 1976 she was in charge of the Egyptian Pavilion at the 87th "Salon des Independants" in Paris, in the Grand Palais.
The artist’s works were acquired by the Modern art Museum in Cairo, in Alexandria, and in Dresden, the National Museum in Warsaw and by the Oriental Museum in Sophia, the Pushkin Museum in Sophia, the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, the Italian Deputies Council and by private collectors in Egypt and abroad.
In 1986, she was awarded by the French Ministry of Culture a medal of merit called "Cavalier of the Arts and Literature".
Inji Eflatoun died in 1989.
View Inji Aflatoun's work on ARTSY
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* Presented by JM Art Management in collaboration with Safarkhan gallery.
JM Art Management