The beauty of Abdel Zaher’s paintings lies in his palpable affinity for the subjects he depicts and their way of life, they are the prototypical characters that have defined Egypt since the dawn of time, and through his art, he confirms that they will always have an indispensable role in our society, heritage and collective identity.
Abdel Zaher is a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Helwan and has been painting for three decades and has notably featured in various collective exhibitions, including Salon El Shabab, for nine consecutive years.
In his work, Abdel Zaher predominantly explores Egypt’s ubiquitous cultural markers and traditions, mainly where they exist in their most unadulterated and exemplary form, the country’s bountiful rural communities.
Abdel Zaher captures the infectious joie de vivre of Egypt’s countryside folk, depicting with the most expressive and authentic zeal their daily lives and routines, and it is unmistakable how their carefree and jubilant nature is reflected in the artist’s compositional style that can be described in the same manner. Above all, Abdel Zaher is intensely truthful in his depictions of these rural scenes, which range from fruit merchants, water bearers, donkey-drawn carts, village festivals, celebratory events, and more. We derive a sense of childlike affection from the characters in his works, which he imagines without any embellishment or deviation from reality. However, his works are not hyperrealist in the traditional sense. Instead, they combine a certain naïve expressionism along with a clear effort to retain a faithful reproduction of typical scenes that tethered to our identity and this blessed land.
Abdel Zaher’s palette is unashamedly natural in generally subdued earthen tones one would expect to see in such settings. He does, however, punctuate these organic colors with bright and forceful ones like red, aquamarine, and dazzling golden gold, which, although looking spontaneous, are unobtrusive and complementary to the subjects and ideas in his paintings. He employs a type of block color segmentation that is emphatic making the scenes he paints more vivid and prominent in our mind’s eye. This optimistic and cheerful palette is reflective of the many blessings of living on this timeless land, especially its far-flung rural communities. The beauty of Abdel Zaher’s paintings lies in his palpable affinity for the subjects he depicts and their way of life, they are the prototypical characters that have defined Egypt since the dawn of time, and through his art, he confirms that they will always have an indispensable role in our society, heritage and collective identity.
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