It's psychedelic, Baby! Egyptian artist brings around a new genre of art
The surreal waves and colours of psychedelic art may not seem to go hand in hand with oriental style, much less an engineer’s mind. Yet local engineer-turned-artist Amr Hosny has created an entire collection of work in this style only.
It is an art form which may raise some eyebrows among the unfamiliar.
“The word psychedelic appeared in the time of the evolution of art in the 60s and 70s, [and] is related to the influence of drug use over people’s perception,” Hosny explains. “When someone gets high on drugs, they see hazy or repeated patterns. This influenced fashion too, [like] Charleston pants or striped shirts… Later on, psychedelic art moved away from its relation to drug use, and became a perspective of art on its own.”
While Hosny studied engineering, he found himself so impassioned by making art that he quit his job at one of Egypt’s top mechanical power companies. Since then he has set up a number of exhibitions at the Cairo Opera House, clubs, and even his own gallery in Heliopolis.
Interestingly, he displays his paintings but never puts them up for sale. “I love my paintings because they’re so deep; I’ve spent years executing them. I mix psychedelic patterns with oriental art, and the result is fascinating. So I let people see what they are about, but then I take them home again.”
The artist also directs his talents towards interior design. “I like painting on walls,” said Hosny. “It is so hard to take on a 30 metre wall from the ceiling to floor and just fill it up with meaning. However, People love it.”
He has also done artwork for the Egyptian progressive metal band Anarchy.
Hosny’s themes vary widely, from war to psychological conflict, and are often translated into drawings as well as paintings.
At first look, the paintings might seem bizarre, but a short pause will reveal much greater complexity lurking beneath the surface. For instance, one of his paintings called Eve depicts a bloodied woman with a tree sprouting from her body. There is a half-eaten apple hovering over the body of Eve, a depiction of original sin. As ever, the work’s meaning is open to interpretation; is Eve the downfall of man, or the giver of life? Whatever the case, Hosny’s Eve appears in pain, reaping the consequences of her choices.
Perhaps the most appealing aspect of Hosny’s paintings is the intricate patterns found in each, proof of the considerable time and effort invested in them, and a testament to the artist’s deep connection to his paintings.
One can also detect the influence of traditional Egyptian art on Hosny’s work; elements such as arabesque patterns or the opened hand that wards the evil eye are present in several of his works. One of his paintings, called Uprising Soul, hints at the collective identity of the Egyptian culture despite its many sub-categories.
On his Facebook page, Hosny describes one of his paintings, Motherland. “Egyptian identity carries aspects of different religions and civilisations represented in an oriental lady, who shows her hand to the world,” he says. “She is indicating the near completeness of the pyramid head, and the beginning of the countdown for the resurrection day.”
By Fatma Ibrahim