Egypt has lost yet another of its contemporary treasures: The brilliant artist Hamed Owais, passed away on Saturday October 1st 2011, at the age of 92.
I can go on to list his achievements, but you’re better off getting accurate dates and titles here. What I can go on and on about however, is his exquisite painting skills- abilities that are unparalleled in style, technique and clarity in subject matter.
As the pioneer of social realism, Owais created paintings that are decidedly Egyptian. As one of the quintessential artists of contemporary Egyptian Art, his bulky, thick boned figures and delicate texturing of his surfaces create pieces that are the fruits of loving labour. He was a man with revolutionary ideas and the belief that these ideas must be presented through the arts.
His skin tones are almost always smooth and chocolatey, as he predominantly portrayed the working men and women whose days consisted of working long hours in our roasting sun. This is portrayed with not a single pinch of pity; pride and dignity can be witnessed in every limb, gaze and all brushstrokes in between.
I am, by the nature of my Gulfi upbringing, a capitalist to the core. However I find the socialist/communist propaganda in Hamed Oweiss’s pieces to be truly inspiring. To believe in something, anything, so profoundly and to be completely consumed in your expression of it is as refreshing as it is long lost.