Tuesday, July 12, 2011
When you stand in front of his paintings, you experience mixed feelings of hope, happiness and mystery. Such feelings are difficult to explain or understand.
In his latest exhibition, artist Dorian Haqmoun is displaying eight new paintings with deep meanings.
Dorian's art is clearly inspired by Islamic architecture and Sufism. His use of colour and shadow has a great impact on the viewer, who feels as if he’s whirling like a Dervish.
Islamic architecture, especially old Islamic gates and passages, is very notable in his paintings. "My leitmotiv is the gate. I am deeply drawn to the gates and passages in mosques and other buildings in the Islamic world," says Dorian, who is also a journalist at The Egyptian Gazette.
"The gate has a deeper meaning for me; it is the place between an outer and an inner space, a doorway leading into a world that can only be imagined, the quiet realms of colour in my paintings filled with the sound of unheard music.”
Dorian grew up in Switzerland, where he got his degrees in teaching and art. Since Switzerland was not his country of choice he moved to London in 1988, where he taught art and had his own studio. The decades he lived there proved to be his most formative years, in terms of identity and artistic expression.
After a first attempt at living in Egypt followed by a return to England, he settled in Cairo in 2007 and has not left the country since.
Having completed a series with arches and passages, Dorian has now embarked on a new series with vases, captured in the play between light and shadow. They symbolise vessels of hope, a hope nourished by the momentous events of the Egyptian revolution.
As an artist, in the moment he sees a motive, he transfers his feelings onto the canvas. The paintings become a record of his memory and experience.
In his two of his paintings, being displayed in the exhibition, entitled ‘After the Revolution’, the artist hasn’t painted the scenes we all saw in the revolution, like a boy holding the Egyptian flag or a young protester being shot by the police.
Instead, he has painted his own understanding of the revolution and the days after the revolution.
He has painted a vessel in a light colour and he has also painted shadows which (when viewed from a distance) seem to be like the ‘V’ for Victory sign. These shadows also could be happy people or branches of a tree. In fact, what you are seeing in the paintings is not the issue, as what you feel is more important.
People may have various explanations or interpretations for the same painting but they will all agree about what they feel.
The paintings of ‘After the Revolution’ express hope for the future and the New Egypt, while the shadows suggest that there is still some mystery.
"Cairo is a city of endless inspiration and I’m happy to be here," says the artist, whose paintings have been on display in several solo and group shows in Cairo.
If you are thinking where to go tonight, you ought to go and enjoy the fine works of Dorian Haqmoun and two Egyptian artists: painter Moustafa Bekir and sculptor Ali Abdel-Tawab.
The exhibition, which ends tonight, is being held in the Russian Centre for Science and Culture, 127 Tahrir St., Doqqi (3760-1747).