ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The success of The Bridge is indebted to many people and entities. Deepest gratitude goes to the following: To SODIC, the founding sponsor of this timely travelling exhibition. Their generous sponsorship and belief in using the arts for humanitarian purposes are treasured. To all 47 participating Arab, Persian and Jewish artists in The Bridge who used their exceptional artistic gifts to create the profoundly moving and meaningful work in this exhibition. To Randa Fahmy Aboul-Nasr and Sylvia van Vliet Ragheb, Co-Founders of Syra Arts, for their outstanding programmatic assistance with the participating Arab artists. To Lilianne Milgrom, the co-curator and participating artist, for her excellent assistance in numerous ways, including the selection of participating artists of Jewish background. To Claire Marie Pearman, CARAVAN’s Program & Development Associate, for her exceptional coordination and communication contributions which have resulted in The Bridge’s success. To Ashraf Reda and his A.R. Group for publishing this beautiful book. To Reda Abdel Rahman, participating Egyptian artist, for his continual counsel and multi-faceted assistance. To the numerous venues in Europe, Egypt and the USA who have generously hosted The Bridge. A special thanks to L’Eglise de Saint-Germain-des-Prés in Paris’ Latin Quarter, and its leadership, Père Benoist de Sinety and Mr. Philippe Langlois, for enabling The Bridge to premier at their historic and sacred space. To two of CARAVAN’s important partners, The Episcopal Church and United Religions Initiative (URI), for their ongoing generous support and continual encouragement. To the many individuals in the Middle East and the West (of Christian, Muslim and Jewish backgrounds) who have played an instrumental role in making sure that the mission of The Bridge was accomplished.
Rev. Paul-Gordon Chandler, Founder and President, CARAVAN Co-Curator, The Bridge
In the midst of the increasing chasm of discord and misunderstanding that exists between the Middle East and the West, and between Christians, Muslims and Jews, our day calls for a new kind of movement: not of belief or of religious unity, but one that builds on what we hold in common. Believing that the arts can serve as one of the most effective mediums to enhance understanding, bring about respect, enable sharing and deepen friendship between those of different faiths and cultures, CARAVAN, an interreligious and intercultural peace-building NGO, has organized and curated an unparalleled gathering of premier and emerging artists whose origins are from the Middle East focusing on what they hold in common through their cultures and creeds, Muslim, Christian and Jewish. Titled The Bridge, this traveling East-West exhibition showcases the work of 47 contemporary visual artists of Arab, Persian and Jewish backgrounds. As a multi-religious group, the artists are making the case for using that which we have in common as the foundation for the future of our world. Curated by CARAVAN Founder/President, Rev. Paul-Gordon Chandler, and noted participating artist, Lilianne Milgrom, The Bridge exhibition involves a diverse range of artists including women and men, from premier contemporary artists to emerging younger artists, from the three primary monotheistic faith backgrounds and 13 countries. Each artist has submitted one original work (done specifically for the exhibition) addressing the theme “The Bridge”. The Bridge opened in Paris, France at the historic Church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés in the Latin Quarter, the oldest church in Paris, during the first week of February 2015 to commemorate the United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week. As the exhibition travels throughout Europe, to Egypt and then throughout United States it takes with it a fundamental message of intercultural and interreligious harmony and provides a link not only within communities but also between communities.
The Bridge serves as a common starting point on which to build, toward seeing the development of a world that inherently respects and honors cultural and religious diversity, living and working together in harmony. The Bridge serves as a catalyst for diverse peoples to come together, to provide understanding and create deeper respect for each other. It also is a means to encourage new friendships to be made across religions and cultures. The Bridge in this sense becomes an “Encounter Point,” helping to change negative stereotypes and alleviate fears that exist of the “other”. Art is not only a voice for expression, but also a means of healing, and the arts have always been one of the most powerful ways to bring transformation and progress in society. As Leonard Bernstein, the renowned late composer and conductor said: “The point is, art never stopped a war…. That was never its function. Art cannot change events. But it can change people. It can affect people so that they are changed...because people are changed by art - enriched, ennobled, encouraged - they then act in a way that may affect the course of events...by the way... they behave, the way they think." As The Bridge takes a message of intercultural and interreligious understanding and harmony around the world, CARAVAN’s hope is that it stimulates the development of practical models of co-existence and collaboration. CARAVAN’s desired end result is to see effective, tangible, and creative examples of those from Christian, Muslim and Jewish backgrounds living and working peacefully together in their respective societies to jointly enhance their communities. Perhaps no words resonate better with the spirit of The Bridge than the words of that profound Dutch artist, Vincent van Gogh, “The more I think it over, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people”. Rev. Paul-Gordon Chandler Founder and President, CARAVAN
The Bridge has gathered together forty-seven outstanding artists from the East and the West who proudly identify with their Muslim, Christian or Jewish heritage. The resulting exhibition is a metaphor for the myriad and infinite ways in which peace and co-existence can be imagined and ultimately, realized. It matters not that these paths differ one from the other â€“ it matters only that each of us be prepared to cross that bridge towards the other. I recently read an article in which Iranian video artist Shirin Neshat describes greatness in art as â€œart that transcends all differences, despite where an artist is from.â€? By definition, therefore, I would like to propose that The Bridge is one of the greatest collections of art ever exhibited. And one can take it even further, for in this case the whole is greater still than the sum of its parts. The works in this catalog fill me with hope. They are a reminder that although we may not always be marching in step, we are nonetheless capable of taking a step at a time, together, towards a brighter future.
Lilianne Milgrom Artist and Co-Curator, The Bridge
ALI ABDEL MOHSEN Ali Abdel Mohsen was born in Cairo, Egypt. He is an artist, journalist and freelance wolfhunter. His artwork has been displayed in solo and group exhibitions, and in several publications. His writing has appeared in Egypt Independent, Mada Masr, Harper's and Al Arabiya.
Statement â€œA bridge is a man-made structure.â€? The hand placements are a reference to Pontifex Maximus - pontifex literally means "bridge-builder" and "maximus" means "greatest". The position of bridge-builder was indeed an important one in ancient Rome, where the major bridges were over the Tiber, the sacred river: only prestigious authorities with sacral functions could be allowed to "disturb" it with mechanical additions. The title Pontifex Maximus was always understood in its symbolic sense as well: those who smoothed the "bridge" between gods and men.
Bridge Ambassadors 60cm x 80cm Acrylic and pen on cardboard
ASMAA TAKIEDDINE A Syrian from a Turkish mother, Asmaa, is an artist and interior designer born in Kuwait. She graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts (sculpture) at Helwan University in Cairo, Egypt in 2004, and ESMOD Fashion School in Syria in 2005. She was fortunate to be trained by leading Kuwaiti, Syrian and Egyptian artists like Thoraya Al Baqsami, Mohamed El Shaikh, Khozayma Elwani, Abed Al Hady, El Wishahy and Farouq Ibrahim. After graduating, she started her career as an interior designer with her family’s company, Nokoush; a leading design company and atelier specializing in Arab Islamic interior work and furnishing that focuses on reviving the Islamic heritage. Seeing the beauty of her Islamic culture, she started to translate that love into her paintings, influenced by the Ottoman, Syrian and Egyptian cultures. Asmaa focuses on creating new techniques by using different kinds of traditional fabrics such as brocade--“Syrian silk on silk textiles loomed and dyed with all natural pigments handmade in Syria.” Her work reflects the Arabic traditions with an oriental spirit using strong powerful colors, Islamic motifs and effects such as hatching and embossing. Asmaa’s work as been obtained by art lovers in many parts of the world such as Kuwait,
Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, USA, France, England, Spain and Egypt.
Statement We may know, who we are or we may not We may be Muslims, Jews, or Christians But until our hearts become the molder for every heart We will see only our differences - Rumi Let us fly to his endless mercy, breathe the freedom of his love, Break the chains of fear and pain We all share one love, the love of Allah God
The Greatest Love 60cm x 80cm Mixed media on canvas
AZADEH GHOTBI Azadeh writes:
“I experienced revolution, loss, exile, and the idiosyncrasies of feeling proud of one’s heritage yet stateless early in life. I left Iran at an age when one is too young to make lifechanging decisions yet old enough to suffer their consequences. I left behind everything I knew, cared for, and took for granted. The “present” and the beautiful prospect its future held were wiped forever at that very moment.
My life has been greatly enriched from living in five countries across three continents. I was born a Muslim yet my first encounter with religious education came when I fled the Islamic revolution in Iran and was put into a Catholic girl school in Paris. I married an atheist surrounded by my two best friends, my bridesmaids, one a Muslim the other a Jew. I have suffered the direct consequences of religious obtuseness yet overall benefitted immensely from being surrounded by open minded generous souls from diverse religious backgrounds. As such, I was particularly interested by the concept of The Bridge.
Every day that goes by I’m fully aware that a diminishing proportion of my life has been spent in my country of birth yet on some intangible level the feeling of kinship to it remains strong. The passing of time has only made me further appreciate and cherish the importance of history, roots and cultural ties. Diaspora, statelessness, transience, lack of continuity are my “normal”. However, I have found that such experience can bear unexpected gifts of strength, adaptability, empathy, and a heightened sense of observation. The cumulative effect of all this imparts and reflects itself upon my work”. Azadeh’s work has been exhibited in Basel, Frankfurt, Heidelberg, London, Los Angeles, Paris and Tehran.
The work I’ve made for this traveling exhibit is about the beauty, intensity, and energy that comes from lives that are not linear but rather connecting, crossing, bridging, and impacting each other. Each colored line represents a person with a unique story, cultural background, belief system and sensibility. Their very interaction is what brings the work to life and enriches it.
Crossroads 60cm x 80cm Acrylic on canvas
BRITT BOUTROS GHALI Known for her vibrant, colorful paintings, Britt is considered one of the most important Norwegian artists. She studied painting and sculpture under Ellen Christensen and Ferdinand Lunde in Oslo in the late 1950’s. Her earliest work debuted in Paris at Galerie de L’ Universite in 1965 at the same time that Niki de Saint Phalle joined her on the Paris art scene. Britt participated in the Abstract Expressionist movement in Europe in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and is still driven by these early influences. Br itt has exhibited int ernat ionally throughout her career. Her work is widely collected in both public and private collections worldwide. In 1996 Britt was awarded the Saint Olav’s Order by King Haakon of Norway, the highest Norwegian honor given to an artist, for promoting Norway through her art abroad. Edvard Munch is the only other artist to have received this honor during his lifetime. Britt was born in Svolvaer, in northern Norway. In great contrast to her beginnings, Britt has spent the last 38 years in Egypt. Her studio is a barge on the Nile. The many years spent in Egypt’s rich, colorful and exotic culture and environment has greatly influenced her work.
Statement I am always searching for light in my paintings. I use all my passion and strong vibrant colors to communicate energy, life and power. The three elements that guide this painting are light, water and unity. We are all children of one divine being – all brothers and sisters of the world living under one umbrella searching for the same ultimate goal of peace and harmony. In our unity we hold all the positive energy of love and peace. Life is the waterfall, which, through its cleansing and purifying properties, makes us rise up towards the light. My artwork must have a soul otherwise it is not a real work of art to me. I hope that people viewing my painting, regardless of their race, culture or religious belief, will receive new energy and optimism and hope for a better and more harmonious future.
Together Towards Peace 60cm x 80cm Oil on canvas
CARELLE HOMSY Born in Cairo, Carelle Homsy graduated from the Faculty of Arts Education in 1991. She is a member of the Plastic Art Syndicate and of the Atelier Group. Her first solo exhibition was in 1992 and she has since exhibited in Egypt and throughout Europe. She has also participated in many group exhibitions and her work can be found all over the world. In Egypt, the Cultural Development Fund, the General Organization for the Palace of Culture and the Museum of Modern Art hold her art. Carelle Homsy's artwork is characterized by aspects of Expressionism and Fauvism, which she always resorts to when expressing her inner feelings, by reforming figures and intensifying colors. Hence the painting becomes an illustration of personal and intellectual experiences. It is also a mixture of elements and strong colors and line vibrations, which gives an impression of continuous movement. Carelle says that painting is the only way to express her thoughts, dreams and inner feelings.
Statement Who are you behind the mask ?
I am a human being ...
DerriĂ¨re ce masque....qui es tu? - Who are you behind the mask? 60cm x 80cm Oil on canvas
EL ZAEEM El Zaeem Ahmed Mahmoud Ali was born in the Governorate of Sohag in Egypt. He received his BA in graphic art from South Valley University in Luxor. El Zaeem has participated in numerous local and international exhibitions. El Zaeem says, â€œI live with my concerns and dreams, with a lost sense of time and place, swimming in a world of contrasting images and exotic tales of my memory. God created humans in different colors and forms. Every person carries his own tales, attitudes, joys, sorrows and feelings that change every second. I feel I am everyone. I go to nature taking from it what I need to decipher codes I do not even know. When I mix with nature I become everything and my works are reborn in new light for people to see and try and to decipher my mysterious codes.â€?
Statement The Other I am the other and the other is me. I can never look at him as a different entity. I can never hurt him, for I would be hurting myself. I listen to him I feel him He is just a human He is me
The Other 60cm x 80cm Acrylic on canvas
GALILA NAWAR Galila was born in Cairo, to a family of filmmakers. After getting her BA in Psychology from the AUC in 1985, Galila went on to study drawing and painting at the Magd El Sigini studio and then oil painting and portraiture at Central St. Martinâ€™s in London, UK. Galilaâ€™s interest in portraiture lies in the tension between the latent and the manifest; on the one hand the persona that is presented in a pose or captured snapshot, and on another hand the real person behind it. She chooses to paint from selected photographs that allow her to see beyond the pose and create a narrative of her own. Through a detail of a look or a posture, she attempts to find a universal human emotion or a drama specific to a particular time or context. People are what the world is about. Painting them is her way of trying to understand the world we live in.
Statement Civilizations are the manifestation of humanity's thoughts, imagination and exploration of the world around him. They are as diverse as humanity is, yet should exist side by side, like colors on an ongoing canvas of human expression. Ancient Egyptian civilization is the magnificent dawn of all civilizations. Akhenaton, being the first visionary of monotheistic beliefs, inspired this painting.
Akhenaton 60cm x 80cm Acrylic on canvas
GAMAL EZ Gamal Ez was born in Alexandria, Egypt. He was educated at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of El Minya. In 1990 he immigrated to the Netherlands where he studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague. While in Egypt, Ez learned traditional techniques and concepts. In The Hague he became familiar with a more contemporary idiom. He went on to make two-dimensional and three-dimensional works, which are not considered “modern” in an academic sense, but show his search for a wholly personal vocabulary that he would later expand. Ez has become known for his often “site specific” three-dimensional installations that sometimes take up very large spaces and often consist of heterogeneous materials such as wood, windows, shoes, toys, baby buggies, chairs- which are combined in a new way, articulating a new dramatic meaning. Often the building where his installations are held become part of the installation itself. Ez’s work has been shown internationally. He was part of a group exhibition in GEM (The Hague) where he came to know American sculptor-activist, Jimmie Durham, whom he sees as a type of mentor. He has held major exhibitions, in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, Cairo, Egypt Frankfurt, Germany, Poona, India, Liverpool, UK, and Paris, France. Works by Gamal Ez have found their way to various international collections.
Statement The painting tells about the pain all people feel. This pain is universal; it is recognized by everyone. This pain bridges all peoples.
A Universal Bridge 80cm x 60cm Acrylic on handmade paper
GUIRGUIS LOTFI Dr. Guirguis Lofti was born in Alexandria, Egypt. Guirguis studied art extensively at both the Alexandria University and the Helwan University in Cairo. His studies culminated in a PhD in Philosophy of Art with a thesis entitled, “Coptic Art and its Effect on Modern Art”. The influence of his studies and his upbringing in a Coptic Egyptian family is vividly present throughout his work. Guirguis’ special talent lies in being able to take ordinary everyday scenes and imbue them with life, drama and at times grandeur. The apparent “naivety” of his art reflects a sincerity and humble pride in and at the same time a deep reverence for the diversity of the Egyptian cultural identity. His unique style and technique of using egg tempura and gold leaf, which are reminiscent of religious iconography, lend his work a depth and patina that captures the spirit and authenticity of his subject matte. Guirguis had held many exhibitions in Egypt and internationally, where his work is eagerly sought by collectors and patrons of the arts.
Statement In my picture I have started from where all humanity has all started – Adam and Eve. We, with our different races, religions, cultures and beliefs are all descendants from the same mother and father. We are all the same; there are no gaps between us and no true need for bridges.
Adam & Eve 60cm x 80cm Oil on canvas
HAYAM ABDEL BAKY Hayam Abdel Baky was born in Kafr El Sheikh, Egypt. She has been an active participant in the Egyptian Fine Arts Movement as a painter, teacher and a member of various art associations. She obtained a Masters in the field of Oil Painting from Ain Shams University and a PhD degree in Philosophy of Art Education at Cairo University. In Egypt she has held many solo and group exhibitions. She has won prizes both in Egypt and abroad, like the International Award of the Triennale for Graphics in Macedonia in 2006. Her work is collected widely both locally and internationally.
definitely do not seek to spread justice, equality, love and peace. I wonder at the people in power. Why don’t they think of the poor and vulnerable? Why don’t they spend their money on building and reconstruction instead of destroying and controlling? This is the stupidity and greed of power. In this work I wanted to portray people as one cohesive unit dreaming of peace, safety and refusing destruction, wars and bloodshed .We all live under the same sky, our feelings are one. In essence we are one being, despite the wishes of those in power. We all pay the price of their desires and greed.
She currently lives and works in Cairo. My work is a message of love, peace and a limitless unification of our humanity.
Statement We all dream of the bridge that spans all humans and does not differentiate between one religion and another. I always ask myself if there were no wars, destruction and conflicts, would we live in peace? I wonder at man’s wish to control the capabilities of another, thus excelling in the industry of destructive weapons and spending millions and billions to manufacture these weapons. Is this fear and insecurity? They
One World 80cm x 60cm Acrylic on canvas
HELEN ZUGHAIB Born in Beirut, Lebanon, Helen Zughaib lived mostly in the Middle East and Europe before coming to the United States to study art. She received her BFA from Syracuse University, College of Visual and Performing Arts. Helen works primarily in gouache, an opaque watercolor, and ink on board. Her work has been widely exhibited in galleries and museums in the United States, Europe and Lebanon. Her paintings are included in many private and public collections, including the White House, World Bank, Library of Congress, US Consulate General in Vancouver, Canada, American Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, and the Arab American National Museum in Detroit, Michigan. In 2008, Helen was invited as US Cultural Envoy through the State Department to Palestine, where she led a workshop with Palestinian women artists in Ramallah. In 2009, she was sent to Switzerland under the State Departmentâ€™s Speaker and Specialist Program. President Obama gave one of Helen's pieces to former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of Iraq, upon his official visit to the White House, and former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, gave one of her pieces to the King of Morocco.
Statement When I heard about the theme for this exhibition, I pictured a large net. This net stretched across turbulent waters to "catch" and protect anyone crossing. In my piece it serves as the bridge that holds both people and positive thoughts safely above troubled waters and times. My dream-catching net is a symbol of unity, filtering out negative thoughts that slip through the holes in the net. My peacock holds the net in his beak, assuring guidance and protection.
Dream Catcher 60cm x 80cm Gouache on unprimed wood panel
HILDA HIARY While Hilda Hiary lives and works in her native Jordan, she is also a global citizen and has exhibited at important venues including exhibitions in the United States, Europe, Africa, Asia and Middle East.
Over the years, her prolific presence and persistence has vaulted her to the top of a select group of female artists of Middle East origin being recognized globally.
However, now we are living in a complicated and incomprehensible time which is attempting to bend this line.
It is the clear straight lineâ€Ś.the way most people in my homeland Jordan were raised to respect all religions.
The Straight Line 80cm x 60cm Mixed media on canvas
HISHAM ABDALLAH Born in Qalubeyya, Egypt, Hisham Abdallah received a BA in Education and a Diploma in Art Education. Both a sculptor and a painter, Abdallah has participated in various local and international exhibitions.
He has received several prominent awards and prizes for his ceramics and sculptures. His work is found among collectors in Egypt and Saudi Arabia as well as in Egyptian National Collections in the Museum of Modern Art, the Open Museum of Aswan, the New Ceramic Museum of 15th May Art Center and the General Authority of Cultural Palaces.
Our path is one and the same.
His works focus on contemporizing elements of Egyptian life. In other words, he is re-envisioning the Egyptian environment in a manner appropriate to the development of modernist art imaging in the world with a focus on the psychological dimension and taking into consideration the human element. He sees humanity as the direct active element in cosmic life.
It is a bridge that unites all peoples and religions. We are all walking on that bridge to reach the same goal.
Three On A Bridge 60cm x 80cm Acrylic on wood
HISHAM EL ZEINY Born in Cairo to a German mother and an Egyptian-Sudanese father, Hisham El Zeiny grew up in a bilingual multi-cultural and religiously tolerant household and was educated through the German school system. Hisham studied architecture at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Cairo ending it with postgraduate studies with Prof. Hassan Fathy, the pioneer of Egyptian traditional architecture. Hisham has held numerous solo and group exhibitions in Egypt and Europe. Much of his work is mixed media which he describes as â€˜collages of thoughtâ€™.
Statement I was approached by CARAVAN for this exhibition while I was experimenting with textiles. Out on my dusty roof top, I was using masking tape on my normal monochrome prints to create a sense of connectedness between different parts of the canvas and to give an impression of layers and depth. To create a change to the usual monochromes I was trying out color from the back of the canvas, enabling the colors to bleed into the textiles in an uncontrolled manner.....the total effect when I finished resembled a modern abstract carpet. So this experiment became my piece for "The Bridge". Then I weaved in swarms of humans and bridge-like structures to complete the story with the overall effect of a tapestrytheme.
The Bridge 60cm x 80cm Mixed media on canvas
HOSSAM SAKR Hossam Sakr is a Professor at the Art Education College, Helwan University in Egypt, where he studied and received his PhD. He was also an instructor at the American University in Cairo and at the Education College of the University of Bahrain. He is a member of the International Fulbright Committee as well as numerous art education syndicates. He writes art critiques in the Middle East Times and other distinguished Arab newspapers. Sakr comes from a disciplined art school background yet in his creative process, rules have no place. An intense mental reflection underlines all his work, expressed by sophisticated techniques and a sublime sense of colors. A recurring theme enduring through the body of his work is human feelings, and humanity by portraits, figures, animal imagery – alone or in unity with each other. Sakr’s work has been exhibited in museums and galleries locally and internationally, in Egypt, Bahrain, France, Germany, Spain, the United States as well as numerous private collections in New Zealand, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom. Hossam lives between France and Egypt.
Statement We are all bridges, which enables us to understand each other and be deeply connected to our historical background, which contains civilization, humanities and religions. Strongly influenced by events and societies, we are in touch with our beliefs as a tool to communicate as a human being in one universe. My painting carries my own expression to get into the viewer’s mind, speaking to the senses to deliver this message: "Forget that we are enemies and consider that our thoughts can create a human bridge to cross to each other".
Humanities 80cm x 60cm Mixed media on canvas
HOURIA NIATI Houria Niati was born in Algeria where she lived as a little girl until the age of 13, when she experienced the Algerian war of liberation against France. This experience has influenced her art. She claims: “True Art is a weapon for peace” and also “My art is simply an explosion of the mind and interaction of ideas in space and time.”
She moved in 1977 to London, UK, where she obtained a Fine Art Diploma at Croydon College of Art. She also completed an MA of Fine Art at Middlesex University.
My mentor, Daisaku Ikeda, a champion for peace and humanity said: “Efforts to reach out and engage others in dialogue with the aim of fostering mutual understanding and bringing people closer together may seem ordinary and unexciting, but they in fact constitute a bold and daring challenge to create a new era of human civilisation.”
She has exhibited her work widely in Europe, US, Middle East and North Africa. One of her most prominent exhibitions was her “30 years of Art” exhibition at London’s Conway Hall Gallery. She writes: “I am determined to develop my art for another thirty years and to dedicate my life for humanity”. The Bridge exhibition opens the gates for this next phase.
The bridge is between the heart and the spirit. When there is war, the antagonists on both sides suffer and look for peace. There is no winner, but sadly only losers. They are the mirror of each other.
This, to my understanding, describes the role of The Bridge and “CARAVAN” as a whole.
One with my Mirror 80cm x 60cm Manipulated photos and painting, and then printed giclĂŠe on canvas
ISABELLE BAKHOUM Isabelle Bakhoum was born in Paris to a French mother and an Egyptian father. She lived in Cairo before she and her family moved to France. In Paris she studied at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts, the American School of Art as well at the at The Grande-Chaumière and Szàbo studios. She has always been drawn to wall painting and has pursued further studies at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plasticas de Mexico in the Fresco Department. She has exhibited her paintings in Italy at the in Palazzo Minutolli, Villa Mansi, Villa Torrigiani and Spazio Romeo Gigli. Bakhoum also specialises in frescoes and wall paintings and her work can be found in Paris, Cannes, Tuscany and Egypt. She founded Arte Prima together with a partner; a company specializing in wall painting and decoration. Isabelle Bakhoum currently divides her artistic talents between canvas painting and wall painting. She teaches wall painting and works on private and public decorative projects.
Statement When I was told about the theme of bridging between the Middle East and West, I immediately thought about a tightrope walker feeling his way on a marked path, challenging gravity. I think an artist is also someone walking a tightrope which stretches the imagination.
Walking a Tightrope - Lâ€™Equilibre des Forces 60cm x 80cm Oil on canvas
KARIM ABD EL MALAK Graduate from the faculty of Fine Arts, Minya University, Graphic Design Department. -Illustrator for Sabah El Kheir & Rosalyoussef, Egyptian magazines. -Art & Managing Director for Red Box, Advertising Agency -Practices sculpture -Participant in the 1st Child’s Biennale workshop “Fantasia 1”, Cairo 2003. -Won the silver medal in the International Competition of “SHANKERS World Association”, India 1993. Exhibitions: Private Art Works Exhibition at Cairo Gallery, 2001. Public Exhibition at Ahmed Shawky Museum, Cairo 2001. Public Exhibition at Mahmoud Said Museum, Alexandria 2002. The Sixth Salon of the art work small sector The Exhibition of the Newspapers Paintings, “The 1st Foundation Cycle” Black & White Exhibition, Cairo 2004. Private Art Works Exhibitions at Gallery Grant,
Cairo 2004 to 2005. Public Exhibition at Ebdaa Art Gallery, Cairo 2007 – 2008. Regular Exhibition at Degas Gallery, Alexandria. Considered amount of Art Work shown at Modern Art Museum managed by Ministry of Culture in Cairo. CARAVAN Festival of the Arts, Cairo and London 2013 CARAVAN Exhibition of Visual Art- Cairo, Washington DC, New York, 2014 The 25th Youth Salon 2014
Statement All different threads dance and swirl to bring us here To a presence that was not yesterday And tomorrow will die So will you dance with me now? For all we have is here and now.
Together Here and Now 60cm x 80cm Oil on canvas
LILIANNE MILGROM Lilianne Milgrom is an international artist and writer on the arts. She was born in Paris, France and spent her formative years in Australia. After living in Israel for extensive periods she now resides in the United States. She holds a BA and DipEd from Melbourne University, and studied at the Avni Institute in Israel and the Academy of Art in San Francisco. She has exhibited extensively in solo and group shows (including the 2013 Cluj International Ceramics Biennale) and her works can be found in private and institutional collections in England, France, Switzerland, Israel, United States, Australia and Romania.
I was surprised to learn that these words are attributed to the rabbinical sage, Rabbi Nachman of Bratislav, born in Ukraine in the 18th century and the great-grandson of the founder of Hassidism, a mystical branch of Orthodox Judaism. These few words have survived intact over the centuries yet they capture the essence of this exhibition. If ever there was a time to reach across cultures, religions, borders and peoples in order to pull the world back from the brink, it is NOW. My painting ‘Narrow Bridge’ is a crude reminder that in order to bridge our differences we must conquer our fears and reach a hand across that narrow bridge without looking down.
Statement “The whole world is a narrow bridge. The main thing to remember is not to be afraid.” Rabbi Nachman of Bratislav (1772-1810) Within minutes of being invited to participate in The Bridge exhibition, the words of a popular Hebrew song began playing in mind: Kol ha’olam kulo gesher tzar me’od, v’haikar lo lefached. (The whole world is a narrow bridge. The main thing to remember is not to be afraid).
(To hear the popular Hebrew song go to http://goo.gl/s4tOfl)
Narrow Bridge 60cm x 80cm Acrylic on canvas
LINA MOWAFY By taking daily life as subject matter, Mowafy’s artwork explore the themes of living in Cairo, Egypt- motherhood, feminist ideals and complicated human bonds. Commenting on the everyday aesthetic of Egyptian values, Mowafy creates intense personal moments using a very vibrant and lively palette. In her search for new methods to ‘read the city’, she often creates work that is chaotic, exciting and layered, combined with subtle details of odd or eccentric elements. The idea of human contact with architecture and basic living elements is a recurrent theme in Mowafy’s work. Energy, space and landscape are examined in less obvious and sometimes developed in absurd ways. Lina Mowafy graduated with a double degree in Art & Journalism and Mass Communication from The American University in Cairo. However, the better part of her academic art training was working under the close watch of a renowned Egyptian artist for eleven years. With a particular love of painting people, Mowafy studied portraiture at the Charles Cecil Portraiture School in Florence, Italy, and then went on to grow her abilities studying various topics at Central Saint Martins in London.
Statement As a unified mass, the figures blend in with each other and with the background to show how we are all interconnected despite ourselves and the stereotypes we create. I am using so many colors to show and stress diversity. This diversity comes together in one frame to create a beautiful bigger picture. Beauty, truth and understanding cannot be perceived unless we zoom out. From a certain distance we all look the same because essentially we are the same. Our humanity is our bridge.
Unified Mass 80cm x 60cm Acrylic on canvas
MAI REFKY An independent artist, Mai Refky lives and works in Cairo, Egypt. Mai graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Painting department and then went on to study Islamic Art and Architecture at the American University in Cairo. Her work has been presented in solo exhibitions in Egypt, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, Croatia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Lebanon. Her paintings have been acquired by The Museum of Egyptian Modern Art in Cairo, The Contemporary Art Museum of the City of Vukovar in Croatia, as well as by public and private collections in Egypt and abroad. “My work is mainly concerned with the contemporary human figure, and with putting the human figure in conversation with larger histories and forces. In my paintings I‘m always examining a fusion made up of many cultural identities, visual vocabularies, and artistic styles; many realities coming together in patterned impressions. My human figures are in dialogue with these patterns and forces. My work explores the tension between individual desires for self-expression and the external patterns of society and history. My figures are animated by a duality: they desire serenity and individual escape, and yet they also yearn to be a part of this world”.
"A lot of different flowers make a bouquet……" Author unknown
Interwoven 60cm x 80cm Mixed media - Oil and charcoal on canvas
MALAK EL SHAZLY Born in Cairo, Egypt, Malak has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Art and Integrated Marketing Communication from the American University in Cairo. Malak lives and works in her constantly changing hometown. Her multi-media collages and paintings have been exhibited at various group shows across Cairo, including the American University in Cairoâ€™s Sharjah Gallery, Townhouse Gallery, Darb 17/18, The Gallery and Tache Art. A group exhibition in Dubai in 2011 was the artistâ€™s international debut.
Statement In this multimedia piece, I sought to experiment with the convergence of the different faces of urban life. Life in large cities, like Cairo, is often characterized by struggle and duality. The minds and streets are congested, but there is a constant longing for peace and harmony. Playfulness meets wreckage in this painting, but the dialogue between both yields my vision for reconciliation: youth. I believe that in the youth of the world there is hope for the transformation of destruction, struggle and helplessness into a constructive force. There is hope for harmony and connection by building bridges among youthful communities across different cities, diverse cultures and different religions, both in Egypt and beyond.
Outreach 60cm x 80cm Collage and acrylic on canvas
MANAL DEEB Manal Deeb is an Arab American visual artist out of the Washington DC area. Manal had many solo and group exhibits in Washington DC, New York City, Dallas, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago. Her artwork is a reflection of her original identity as an Arab female and the contradiction in living in the US and raising three daughters. Manal has contributed artwork for the causes of Arab females, women rights in general, and the Palestinian cause. Her artwork has recently been shown as part of the "Tortured yet rising" exhibit at the ARC Gallery, Chicago. The exhibit shed light on the desperation of females in being suppressed but they yet continue to thrive. Manal's work presents many identities that are indistinguishable. Each identity has the same apparent memories and perceives identical surroundings, while believing, with evidence, to be representing the real self and the actual memories. Manal studied studio arts at UIC, Chicago, and Psychology of Art at GMU, Fairfax, VA. Her studies of fine arts and psychology have provided her with the ability to work on her artwork as a self-therapy tool while presenting projects with vital messages reflecting women rights in living a prosperous life.
Statement Primitive unconscious beliefs in humanity are naturally born along with the human birth and continue throughout the childhood stages. Those pure beliefs are the natural bridges children rely on to consciously reach out to each other without hesitation and/or boundaries. “Primitiveness” is an artwork that represents the three religions in the innocent, yet strong, faces of the three children of faith overlooking the calamity on earth underneath them. A common bridging statement above them reveals the unconscious message to all humanity that “we have what it takes” to live a peaceful life. Meanwhile, the children do not stop by sharing a message, but rather take action by spreading a praying rug of thousands of colors to put off the fires and invite all humanity to take a peaceful ride beyond reality to reach into their original “Primitiveness” of being humans born with pure beliefs of acceptance.
Primitiveness 60cm x 80cm Digitally manipulated painting, printed on canvas
MARC GOLDSTAIN Marc Goldstain, as far as he can remember, has always drawn. He began at a very young age at the classroom tables in Saint-Maur-desFosses, France, where he grew up, and was then supervised by his teachers at the famous Ecole Supérieure d’Arts Appliqués in Paris. His earlier subjects included street scenes of Paris and its suburbs painted from life. After a phase of experimentation with abstraction he returned to painting "realistic" cityscapes. "Ce sont les pommes qui ont changé" was the first exhibition that marked this new approach. Held in the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Paris and curated by Hector Obalk, it gave birth to the French school of contemporary urban landscape together with Philippe Cognée and François Boisrond. Marc has exhibited his work in Paris, Brazil and New York. He was awarded the Pierre Auguste Renoir prize, affording him the opportunity to work in the Renoir workshop in Essoyes. Major works include his monumental painting for the City of Paris, which can be seen at 399 rue de Vaugirard and a commissioned wall mural in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. He also paints large-scale portraits of actors during public performances, such as Philippe Caubère’s performance during the "Marseille European Capital of Culture 2013" event. After obtaining his Masters in Perceptual Psychology, Marc has been teaching a "performative" approach to painting based on
bodily perceptions, gesture and ‘sensitive meditation’ as taught by Professor D. Bois.
Statement Symbolically, a kiss is a bridge between two people. This form of contact embodies the feeling of Love, which transcends all differences for a moment in time. It binds — like religion — because that is its very nature. It is in this sense, that I want my painting to be embraced by the viewer. But perhaps most importantly, to see the painting from the painter’s perspective. Indeed, during the process of painting there is a reciprocal flow of empathy between the painter and his work that acts like a bridge. When my brush makes contact with the canvas, this touch has a powerful effect on me – like a force that opens up and allows me to step out of myself and return emboldened and enriched…Not only does this sensation make me feel more alive, it heightens my senses and leads me to either intensify or soften the color or the gesture of my painting and thereby the viewer’s gaze. It is a meditative state, a moment of Grace. Therefore I kindly ask the viewer to look with fresh eyes upon the play of forms, color, texture, and the subtle traces of the artist’s hand that together create an organic whole that is my painting.
A Kiss 80cm x 60cm Oil on canvas
MARIE BORALEVI Marie Boralevi is a French artist who lives and works in Paris. She graduated from l’Ecole Supérieure des Arts et Industries Graphiques (School of Graphic & Industrial Arts), Estienne, with a Master Craftsman's degree for which she received an "excellent" rating. Having graduated with honors from l’Ecole Supérieure d’Arts Appliqués Duperré, Marie Boralevi's work has always included striking imaginary creatures. She won the Pierre Cardin Award from the Académie des Beaux-Arts de l’Institut de France (Engraving section). Her engravings were shown at the Salon de Dessin during the Contemporary Art Fair in Paris, and then at ART-Copenhagen. The distinctiveness of her work results from a thriving imagination. For her, engraving and drawing are the most appropriate techniques to fully express that imagination. Marie Boralevi’s world is first and foremost a world of dreams. In her enigmatic bestiary, inspired by the aesthetic of the very first explorers and their fascination with indigenous worlds, she delicately outlines the cruelty and absurdity of the human comedy. There is no preestablished story, just a legend to dive into, one that rises and empties itself in the scenes represented.
Statement In my drawing I wanted to reinterpret Genesis by intermingling symbols – the crown of
thorns / stigmata of Christ / the forbidden fruit / Adam etc ... Because it seems that we find the story of Genesis in all three monotheistic religions. In First Dawn the body is the interface that channels the space stretched out to the other: It manifests itself in the idealistic sweetness of the encounter, as well as in the remote, impenetrable distance, frozen in a kind of hieratic gravity. Keeper of the first secrets, yet paradoxically open for all to see. A gateway perhaps—certainly a bridge—or even a metaphor for the first covenant. I have defined the borders of a land prowled by past martyrs . Through the imagery of imploring wounded bodies and of dislocated gestures, the aesthetics of a suffering humanity unfolds. My messianic bodies, halfspirit, half-human or half-beast are a cleverly orchestrated chorus that is reluctant to confess its intentions or its logic, but show themselves before vanishing. Their mystery is rooted in the outline of a concealed story which can only be read from within and remains inaccessible to me. At the heart of the inexplicable, I give in to the interaction between these forces and contemplate a world that is built on sensations. There, my hand dances in an intuitive fashion; taking apart that which needs to be broken and offering that which must be offered. I stand at the point, under the sky of consciousness, where the mystery of eternal genesis and of its destiny lies.
First Dawn 60cm x 80cm Drawing and mixed media on Japanese paper
MARWA ADEL Born in Cairo, Egypt, Marwa holds a BA and an MFA from the Advertising Department in the Faculty of Applied Arts from Helwan University. She received the Golden Prize at the 9th European-Arab Festival of Photography in Germany, and the best Arab Photographer Award at the Emirates Photography Competition in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Marwa has participated in many international exhibitions both in Egypt and internationally such as in Dubai, Sweden, Senegal, Mali, England, Sharjah and The Netherlands. For Marwa, her artwork is an attempt at showing the evolution and the infinite conflict between some fundamental forms of existence that live in a state of permanent contradiction and antagonism. It is the discovery and revelation of the relationship between form and essence, spirit and materiality, image and ideas. It is the metamorphosis of primitive to supreme, passing through humanity.
Statement I am seeking for the bridge which leans from the visible to the invisible through reality. Go to the truth beyond the mind. Peace is the bridge.
Transition 80cm x 60cm Photograph
MOHAMED ABOUELNAGA Mohamed Abouelnaga is a multidisciplinary visual artist, art professor, curator and developer. Born in the Egyptian city of Tanta, Abouelnaga graduated with honors from the Faculty of Fine Art and obtained a PhD in Philosophy of Art from Alexandria University. He was the first Middle Eastern artist to receive a grant from the Japan Foundation to study the arts of papermaking. In the following decade, he made several solo shows in Egypt and around the world that varied between painting, video and installation. His major exhibitions include: “Hay Carriers” at Markheya Gallery, Doha, and “Soad Hosny” at Duke Gallery London. He received the first price for his Video Art Cairo 11 from Danube Video Art Festival in Austria. In 2009, he was the curator of the 25th Alexandria Biennale for Mediterranean Countries and in 2011, he was the curator of Sharjah Children Art Biennale. In addition, Abouelnaga is using his multidisciplinary skills in the social development field. He founded Elnafeza for Contemporary Art & Development where he trained more than 25 handicapped youngsters in using rice straws, Nile water lilies and banana stalks for papermaking.
Statement In this work I am attempting to dismantle the collective and historical “Orientalism,” the western view of the Middle East, to represent it in the female form, which was so often used in the traditional painting of the Orientalist period of art. When I view the Orientalist paintings of the 19th century, I feel like I am in a surreal world that has blended realistic elements with an imaginary world of fantasy. An example is when semi-nude women are portrayed as standing in markets where no one takes any notice. It is as if the paintings of Da Vinci or Michelangelo have been transported romantically to an Arab setting. In my work I am reflecting on the Eastern cultural awareness being developed through these Western perceptions that still exist. I am attempting to re-launch the aesthetic of Orientalism to reflect the reality of today’s “Orient.” This New Orientalism does not imply cultural control or imposed Western perceptions but embraces the evolution of media, communication and globalization. There is no pure aesthetic, it cannot be contained or partitioned, but is a legacy of both Oriental and Western cultures bridging together and as such is the beginning of a new contemporary artistic experience.
New Orientalism 80cm x 60cm Mixed media with photos on tulle- 3 layers of tulle on canvas
MOHAMED ARDASH Mohamed Ardash is a contemporary Egyptian artist based in Cairo. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts, his Masterâ€™s Degree and his Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Applied Arts from Helwan University. His body of work falls within painting and photography, for which he has received various awards, such as the Photography Award from the Youth Salon in Cairo. His work is mainly concerned with the human figure and human relationships in an abstract expressionist style. He has held solos and participated in group national and international exhibitions. In addition to his freelance practice in advertising print media, Ardash works as an Associate Professor of Design. He is a member of the Syndicate of Fine Artists as well as the Syndicate of Applied Arts Designers.
Statement The element of spirit, seen as equal or superior to the physical elements of fire, air, water and earth, is commonly represented by a circle. The circle is also associated with the whole number one. Circles commonly represent unity, wholeness, and infinity. Without beginning or end, without sides or corners. Circles are often seen as protective symbols. Standing within a circle shields a person from outside influences. In my piece a circle is embracing homogeneous interactions of various colored areas representing humans in their diversity of beliefs, around a divine central. A circle can also be containing, keeping that which is inside from been released. While some may divert from this quest for harmony, others are constantly drawn towards its wholeness and infinity.
Elements of a Whole Spirit 60cm x 80cm Acrylic on canvas
MOHAMED MONAISEER Mohamed Monaiseer is an Egyptian artist who lives and works in Cairo. He received his BA in Educational Art from Cairo University. He has held various solo exhibitions in Cairo at the Gezira Art Center and at Safar Khan Gallery. He received the first prize in the Youth Salon in Egypt. He has also taken part in many group exhibitions in Cairo.
Statement Under the guise of the philosophy of destruction and rebuilding, the enlightened intellectuals have extended the realm of their control and authoritarianism. They have intentionally complicated our system of beliefs and throughout history have created chasms between countries, religions, societies and customs. Using clever words, codes and the promise of a Golden Age (as depicted with the golden line in the painting), they have caused members of the same society to become enemies. Humanity was created as one. However, from the earliest of times, conspiracy theories that have been used as a means of control and have created the constant clash of civilizations, religions and societies.
The Belief 60cm x 80cm Acrylic and ink on canvas
MONA EL BAYOUMI Mona El Bayoumi is one of the most wellrecognized Egyptian-American artists in the United States. Her work has been featured in galleries and institutions both in the United States as well as internationally, notably in Cairo, Paris and Johannesburg. Mona El Bayoumi and her work have appeared in books, newspapers, blogs and television stations internationally. Her work has elicited extensive interest worldwide due to her artistic reflections on pertinent world events. Mona El Bayoumi was born in Alexandria, Egypt and since the age of five grew up in the politically active university community of East Lansing, Michigan. The designs and themes discovered during her travels throughout the Arab World made a strong imprint on Mona's artistic vocabulary and the vibrant colors expressed in American artistic culture of the 60's and 70's colored her bright palette. This dual Egyptian-American identity and international exposure can be seen reflected in Monaâ€™s artistic style throughout her career. Mona's love for art led her to obtain a formal Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in Drawing and Painting from Michigan State University and she thereafter pursued post-graduate studies in Art Education. She later obtained a Masters Certificate in Museum Studies at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
Statement "Take it to the Bridge Y'all!" is a common phrase heard in African American songs during the 60's and 70's. It has a double meaning, referring both to moving to the next musical key and as a metaphor of taking something to the next phase. African Americans have welcomed many immigrants to the United States with their rich and multifaceted culture. As a people, African Americans built the United States up from the ground, including constructing the symbolic US Capitol. African American culture's strong foundation has highly influenced various art forms, not only in America, but internationally. "The Bridge" light-heartily depicts young girls using their braids as individual stands of hair to form a stronger rope. This rope reaches out to other girls to build a bridge in the dark of night and "let the light in". The strength of girls, embracing the linkage with their peers serves as a collaboration towards positivity. The power of giving and building in a positive tone always leads to good in the world. "Take it to the Bridge Y'all!"
Take It to the Bridge Yâ€™all 80cm x 60cm Acrylic and mixed medium on canvas
MUTAZ ELEMAM Mutaz Mohamed Elemam is a Sudanese painter working in Cairo. He was born in Kasala City in the eastern region of The Republic of Sudan. He studied in the College of Fine Art, at the Sudan University of Science and Technology in Khartoum. Mutaz is a member of the General Union of Sudanese Plastic Artists and Cairo Atelier. He has exhibited and participated in numerous exhibitions and workshops in Sudan and Egypt. In Egypt he has held various solo exhibitions at Cairo Atelier, Kunst Art Gallery, Al Mashrabia Art Gallery, and Tache Art Gallery. He has also participated in many international collective exhibitions in Italy, Germany, France, Kuwait, Qatar, Lebanon and China. His works are part of private collections of many individuals and institutions around the world. Mutaz was the editor of the Africa page of â€œNot apartheid Artâ€?, Cam Casoria Art Museum Magazine, Naples-Italy.
Statement In my painting the bridge is more of a moral and invisible one. It is one homogeneous continuous human mass forming a coherent and unified entity. This human mass embodies the meanings of communication and through being united as one, we can bridge all social, cultural and religious difference.
Communication 60cm x 80cm Acrylic on canvas
MYRIAM BOCCARA Myriam Boccara’s figurative works are linked to the idea of poetic narration, marked by a special fondness for the themes of wandering and crossings. The artist evokes landscapes or scenes of everyday life as a pretext for critical reverie. Born in Paris, Boccara spent her childhood in Casablanca. Her adolescence was marked by a pronounced affinity for literature and theater, in which she was actively engaged in Marrakech. After graduating from the Lycée Lyautey de Casa, she continued her education in Paris in modern literature and architecture, as well as enrolling in the Montreuil (John Guerin) theater school and the Saint Roch Academy, where she was under the tutelage of Jean Bertholle and André Bouzereau. After graduating in Architecture she eventually decided to pursue painting as a career path and has been practicing her craft ever since. She was awarded the Paul Louis Weiller and Pierre and David Weil prizes from the Institute of Fine Arts. Boccara exhibits regularly in "PEINTURE FRAICHE" and "PRODROMUS" galleries in Paris and in "LIGNE 13”, Geneva, Switzerland. She currently teaches at the "Ateliers Beaux-Arts" in Paris and enjoys writing artist profiles as well as illustrating for numerous publications.
Statement The trees—Ficus clipped in the French manner—form a bridge east to west, connecting the East to the West. In Morocco, the country of my childhood, the midday sun is violent and ornamental trees take the place of porticos and columns in public spaces. The men sleep at the foot of these shade trees in the heat of the day. This painting was inspired by a trip to the south of France. I asked myself how a mesh of tree branches providing shade in a public square could become a bridge. A bridge connects the sky and the ground, creating a skyline silhouette that crosses over the void in a succession of arches, this time created by nature. And the first temples – weren’t their foundations constructed of branches? The paint transmits the story; the narrative diversion orchestrating lyricism and absurdity at the same time. I often think that painting inspired by the mundane can tell in a few "words" the great stories of the world in the manner of Samuel Beckett who got rid of the overflow of words to achieve NOTHINGNESS, a perfect sensory abstraction.
In the shadow of a bridge - Lâ€™Ombre du pont 80cm x 60cm Acrylic on paper mounted on canvas
NAGLA SAMIR Nagla Samir is a contemporary Egyptian media artist based in Cairo.
worked as Director of the Sharjah Art Gallery at the American University in Cairo.
Her work falls within diverse disciplines; including photography, digital image, video and installation, and challenges social norms versus spiritual aspects. Nagla also explores many themes: the human body, the vessel of soul, and the effect of time and mystery of reincarnation. Her work may seem personal, spiritual and remote, from direct themes related to nationalism, yet she is driven by the essence of her community; one that is obsessed by corporal culture, with a long heritage of mystical beliefs. Her work is her contribution to cultural evolution, defying and transgressing censorship and social taboos. She has held various solo exhibitions and participated in group national and international exhibitions. Her work has been awarded prizes, such as the Award for video installation at the 24th Alexandria Biennale for Mediterranean Countries.
She holds a Ph.D. in visual communication and works as a part time Assistant Professor of Art and Design at The American University in Cairo. Her curatorial projects include IMAFY (the 1st International Forum for Media Art for Youth in Egypt), and "A Survival Guide". She founded Passage 35 Center for Contemporary Art, and
My work presents bridging cultural diversity on two levels of connotation. One level represents the interlaced relations throughout history; evident in abstract architectural Moorish ornaments, where the constant repetition of lines forms Davidâ€™s hexagon star, Islamic octagons, quadrille crosses, and the echoed analytic structure of arches form a pyramid. The other level represents future possible relations when nourished in unity, as a pregnant woman with multiple caring hands holds the promise of a child living in harmony; the belly sealed with a tattoo of the eternal tree of knowledge and wisdom.
Eternally Humane 60cm x 80cm Digital photomontage, with Plexiglas
PATRICK ALTES Patrick was born in Algeria shortly before it became independent and, as a child, was part of the exodus toward France though he has no conscious memories of these few years spent in Algeria. He has lived for long periods of time in different countries, and is currently based in England. He also has Spanish heritage. These elements make the question of his identity quite complex as it does for many other people who don’t really “fit” in the country they call home. Patrick’s work has been exhibited at leading International Art Fairs and Festivals around the world, including the 3rd Mediterranean Contemporary Art Biennale in Algeria. He has had various solo exhibitions, the most recent, ‘A Story of Revolutions’ at the Contemporary Art Space in Chester, UK. He has exhibited throughout the UK, as well as in France, Finland, and the USA. As an artist, Patrick hopes to contribute toward a more open, tolerant and accepting world and to a process of bridge-building between people and open a much needed space for reconciliation and cooperation between cultures and civilizations.
Statement Whether or not you are a believer, the cultural, social, and political importance of religions is indisputable. They are intertwined in the history of civilization and often the prime source of their evolution. They can act as great dividers or powerful pacifiers. This painting represents the living space of freedom and dynamic harmony religions can create when they bring the best in humanity.
Hybridity 80cm x 60cm Collage and mixed media on canvas
QAIS AL SINDY Qais Al Sindy was born in Baghdad, Iraq. He has a B.Sc degree in Engineering as well as a Bachelor of Fine Art and a Master’s Degree from the College of Fine Art in Baghdad. In Amman, where he lived for 4 years, Al Sindy taught Art in Architectural Engineering at the University of Applied Science. Beginning with his exhibition titled “Letters don’t burn” he has continued exhibiting work on themes related to humanity, culture and civilization in the world in general and Iraq in particular. Al Sindy now lives in San Diego, California and exhibits internationally.
Statement Why do we use bridges? A bridge necessitates a function for its use! There may be a river, chasm or a valley to cross from one end to other. Yet, there’s a vital question here; who will use it, me or the other? Shall I cross the bridge to reach the other’s shore, or will the other come over to me; or shall we meet in the middle. My understanding of bridges is that they represent harmony, mixing and exchange. In my painting titled: “From here we start”, I depict a woman carrying her luggage and belongings. She commences crossing a very high bridge, meanwhile there are some people waiting for her. She will bring her culture with
her, which the small hill symbolizes. Yet, YOU - on the other part of the bridge - have to bring yours as well. We will exchange our goods, goods of ethics, philosophy and civilization. With stones, you may build walls to separate people or build bridges to unite them! I keep building bridges in the name of ethics and honor, for the glory of love and goodness. We don't stop on a bridge because bridges are made for crossing. We have to meet at some point.
From Here We Start 60cm x 80cm Mixed media on canvas
RANA CHALABI Rana Chalabi is an established Syrian Lebanese artist who has lived in Cairo for over 30 years. She is a visionary artist whose work spans a number of themes, media and even continents. Her artwork reflects her varied interests but is dominated by her interest in movement, both physical and spiritual. Ranaâ€™s lifelong fascination with movement is reflected in the challenge of capturing the ephemeral nature of three-dimensional dynamic forces through the static media of paper, oil, charcoal and inks. The movement of line and color, the interplay of diaphanous veils and cloths, and solid limbs, the sweep of lines and colors make the movement come alive. Even in her works of calligraphic ink it is the movement of both the line and the meaning of the word, which makes the work come to life. To Rana, movement is life, and she wants the viewer to feel and live that movement through her art. Sufism is her abiding love and her dervishes, dancers and calligraphy reflect that passion. Her art not only depicts the mystical part of a tradition but it represents her lifeâ€™s beliefs and yearnings and embodies her quest to understand oneâ€™s self and to reach a higher state of consciousness.
Statement This illuminated page is a journey into the symbols of the religions. Symbols are carriers of meaning and mirrors of a transcendent reality. They are a high road to the ineffable. Look. Contemplate on the symbols. Maybe the perfect dance will shine through the varied forms, to reveal the light within. That is the alchemy of transforming the lead of the outer forms to the gold of the One. One who embraces and loves all forms in all their seeming imperfection, while keeping the gaze on the underlying perfection. A perfection in constant motion, whirling like the galaxies, or like the particles that whirl around an invisible center. And who would dare to say that an atom is imperfect? Contemplate the symbol of fallible and seemingly imperfect humans and their perfect atoms that whirl in an eternal transcendent dance. Bridge the gap in your perception that sees your fellow sojourners on this spinning planet as somehow different and separate and perceive the perfect Light that shines on all.
Illuminations 60cm x 80cm Mixed media on canvas
RANIA EL HAKIM Rania El Hakim is an Egyptian artist living in Cairo. She studied Business Administration at the American University in Cairo and launched her own line of children’s wear, ‘Concrete Generation’. A long-time devotee to art and art history and working in the studios of the artists Mahmud Abdullah and Mustafa Al Razzaz, she dedicated her life full-time to painting. Rania has been showing her art in galleries in Egypt, Azerbaijan and Kuwait and has held solo exhibitions. Her travels throughout the Middle East, Europe and the United States gave her the chance to experience the arts and literature of many mixed cultures and became aware of how cultural diversity creates energy, rhythm and movement. Her unique abstract style gives her the freedom to capture this mélange of relationships and create dialogue between the static and the dynamic, the visible and the invisible, the vibrant and the quiescent, and show their connections as a reflection of the human soul. After meeting the Slovenian poet and artist Gregor Preac, Rania started on a multicultural project: a poetry book for children with Preac's poems and her illustrations of mono-prints. The book’s purpose is to show the direction the world should take; interaction and communication and not separation and war.
Statement Similar to the units of forms and the units of time that join together through visible or invisible bridges, so are the many shapes found in our universe that are connected to each other. They continuously disintegrate and reunite into further new forms, thus, creating an endless mechanism of movement that fashions the world and controls its motion. In my painting, I am trying to depict this invisible energy that empowers life through an ongoing course of events and time. I am concerned with the aesthetics of the form, whether it is organic or geometrical, of a vivid or a pale color, only if it exposes this dynamic energy, creating a mystic tone in the painting. Each form yields to the other as if connected with an invisible chain. The square, as a shape, is a single, independent unit. It invites a feeling of strength and stability. Yet, in my work where I used the square as the only shape, I tried to create a soft movement and build invisible bridges among these confirmed figures. It is an attempt to reflect the image of an ever-changing world through a variety of irregular units that break up but reintegrate once more so harmoniously in the sphere of the painting.
I Only Consist of Particles 60cm x 80cm Oil on canvas
REDA ABDEL RAHMAN Born in Ismalia, Egypt and having studied at the University of Minya at the College of Fine Arts, being surrounded by outstanding Pharonic monuments and Coptic monasteries left a lasting impression on Reda Abdel Rahman, one of Egyptâ€™s leading contemporary artists. It has resulted in his artistic expression focusing on the relationship between what he regards as his ancient Egyptian heritage and the demands of contemporary life. Not only has Reda enjoyed a prolific and international career in the arts but he has also encouraged others by participating in a number of varied initiatives designed to promote artists and the Egyptian art scene. In this regard, he has been integral to the formation of internationally recognized events such as the Luxor Painting Symposium and the formation of the annual Aswan Sculpture Symposium. He has led the Fustat workshops in Old Cairo that brings together a range of artists from around the Middle East. Reda also established an art magazine and curated a gallery in downtown Cairo, both titled Portrait. His artistic career has taken him around the world, from Latin America to Europe.
Statement I have painted two young women, one Eastern and the other Western, that are naturally playing while seated in ancient Egypt, as if in front of a Pharaonic throne. Symbolically they represent how we should all naturally relate to each other, enjoying each otherâ€™s presence. In my painting I have depicted many religious symbols to communicate that even faiths should be naturally relating to one another.
Love between East and West 80cm x 60cm Acrylic on canvas
REEM HASSAN Born in Alexandria, Egypt, Reem Hassan received both her Masters and PhD in the Philosophy of Art from Alexandria University. Hassan belongs to the school of abstract expressionism. She is enthusiastic about the extensive use of rhythmic intersected lines and colors. She paints soaring colored bands or quick touches that are dispersed in the surface to create a visual atmosphere. Her design is elaborate, balanced and integrated. Hassan pioneered a youth art movement in connection with young artists. She is also involved in the field of art management with several NGOs and has participated in workshops and art residency programs in many countries. Her works are exhibited in art museums in Egypt and internationally, and she has been awarded prizes. She works as an independent artist and cooperates on many art projects with youth as well as professional adult artists.
Statement Iconography is the science that studies images in terms of their description, symbolism, and documentation. The word iconography comes from the Greek word εἰκών (image). It also means sacred writing in Greek.
An icon (Iconographic painting) is produced with a specific method and certain theological considerations. It serves purposes of worship and elevates its viewer from earthly to spiritual levels. It also expresses visual images or people in a divine state of bliss . The previous meanings explain the old definitions of the “icon”. However, contemporary definitions go deeper into the wide lines of the artwork and contemplate the old meaning with a new contemporary style. We can see works displayed in the form of small icons that unfold a complete visual mixture of contemporary worship methods and religious rituals of religions in new planets. Let us imagine other lives on new galaxies around us with different life elements such as the blue icon presented here in this work. Artists also have the right to imagine new worlds and religions, and this is what I am depicting here to express a visualization of a symbolic new religion with an icon painted in blue represented in a dreamy aesthetic style.
Iconography Contemporary Painting 60cm x 80cm Acrylic on board
RONEN SIMAN TOV Ronen Siman Tov studied in Delft in the Netherlands, earning a Master's degree in Architecture and Town Planning and then participated in the M.F.A program at the Bezalel Academy of Art in Jerusalem. He has exhibited in the Biennale for young Artists in Rome, Italy and in group and solo exhibitions throughout Europe and U.S.A. His works can be found in private and institutional collections in Europe and North America.
Statement For several weeks I made many drawings in which I tried to determine what a bridge is. In all my drawings an endless view and a figure lying on its side appeared. According to Jewish sources, it is the physical position that the prophets would be in when they would receive a prophecy. The prophets would retire to a single place and lie on their side for a few days in order to prepare themselves and their bodies to contain the strength of the prophecy. At a different stage, the prophets would enter an ecstatic state; experiencing fainting, hallucinations and powerful images. Lying on the side and turning the body over like a bridge to walk upon as a connection between the heavens and the earth or as a bridge between people and God, struck me as
fascinating and reminded me of the workings of an artist in their studio. The desire of the artist to bring announcements and repair to the world and humanity by the action of art, is similar to the nature of a prophet. The prophet announces to mankind the future in regard to how people pay attention to one another, either as a prophecy of disaster or a prophecy of consolation that there will be peace in the land and in the world.
Prophet - Bridge 60cm x 80cm Oil on plywood
SACHA Born in Paris, Sacha studied at the School of Fine Arts and obtained his Diploma. Since then, he has dedicated himself to painting and design, working regularly in the field of artistic event management. He works almost exclusively on wood frames which he paints in his particular and recognizable style, playing with colors and words. Sacha’a studio is situated in the former refrigerated warehouses of the SNCF (French National Railway Company), the famous “Refrigerators” of Paris, in the 13th arrondissement. Sacha’s works are widely exhibited in France, Europe and the United States.
Statement Isaiah 11:6 “And the wolf will be living with the lamb, and the leopard will take his rest with the young goat; and the lion will take grass for the food like the ox; and the young lion will go with the young ones of the herd; and a little child will be their guide”. By describing the arrival of the Messiah, the prophet Isaiah paints us an idyllic image where the current order of the world is inverted and where the enemies become partners and live together. With this painting I want to describe my desire for a world without hatred, a world where even old enemies can live together.
Loup et Agneau - Wolf and Lamb 80cm x 60cm Acrylic and gold leaf on wood board
SAMEH ISMAEL Born in Egypt, Sameh studied Arabic Calligraphy and graduated from the Graphics department at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Helwan University in Cairo. He employs Arabic Calligraphy as a visual unit, working on the elements of Islamic Art Heritage and also from typography in printing materials and graphite art. Arabic Alphabets have always intrigued him and shaped his painting practice: the form of the letter, the symbol, the meaning and the phoneme of each letter. His dual practice as a professional painter with rigorous formal fine art education, and musician/percussionist, feed into each other. The sounds produced by music led him to try to transcend the simple visual aesthetics of standard abstract painting and introduce visual elements that could be linked to sound. Sameh has held solo exhibitions in Cairo, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Jordan, Barcelona. He has also collaborated with several artists on individual graphic projects like the Spanish artist Joan Carlos Noria for the Articulate Baboon Gallery, and the Austrian artist Thomas Mouk.
Statement In this canvas, I imagined the world as a giant wall which all opposing forces are writing on, putting their mark and expressing their points of view. They are loud different points of views, opinions, ideologies, political thoughts, powers - all struggling against each other. Each one wants to speak louder and drown the other’s voices. Despite the different colors, they still exist within one canvas.
In the end we have violence, turmoil and questions without answers. But, I believe that if all these opposing forces settle down and were reinvented with the same colors and within the same framework they will all reach a state of harmony and balance - an end to the chaos. Despite their differences – despite the different colors – fonts – letters, in the end they will still form one homogeneous picture.
One Canvasâ€”Different Voices 80cm x 60cm Acrylic on canvas
SAMIA ZOGHLAMI Samia is a well-known painter in Tunisia who is beginning to establish her reputation abroad. She studied art in Paris and was a pupil of the famous Tunisian artist Nejib Belkhodja. Her painting merges elements of her local artistic traditions with the currents of contemporary and 20th century art, lending her a distinctive individual voice. The roots of these local traditions are not just Arab and Berber, but extend back all the way to ancient Greece, Rome and Carthage.
At the same time, her painting evokes a sense of narrative – when viewing her paintings, one feels that a story is being suggested without being fully revealed. This imbues her work with a certain mysterious charm, albeit with powerful emotional undercurrents. These two factors – the blending of modern art with North African traditions, and the mystery of the unrevealed narrative, combined to make her work exceptional and unique.
Straddling East and West, it has always been necessary for the Franco-Tunisian artist to transcend borders and for this reason, Zoghlami chose Art – Art as rapprochement, as a symbolic gesture of unity, like a bridge between cultures. In fact, religions—like civilizations—share a common infrastructure in the bridge as an essential means by which to know oneself and the other, from this world to the next.
The artist has chosen to represent a city in which all differences are eradicated; as a woven carpet constructed of bridges, where all the inhabitants gather under one flag – that of Humanity. The work is interlaced with paths and colored bridges. As a unifying symbol between countries and peoples, these bridges twist and stretch, obliterating the boundaries of time and space.
The Bridge 60cm x 80cm Oil on canvas
SHAI AZOULAY Shai Azoulay studied at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, where he received both his BFA and MFA. In his paintings, Azoulay creates a narrative abundant with figures and scenes that radiate human warmth, compassion and slight irony. His work ranges between drawing and painting, between the sophisticated and the naïve, and between the omnipotent to the limited. As such, the work addresses the two conflicting worlds found in the mind of the contemporary painter – the classic, iconic, romantic and spiritual world, on one side, and the modern, moonstruck and saturated world on the other. Azoulay has held solo exhibitions in the Tel Aviv Museum, Frieze-London, in Tokyo as well as group shows in cities such as New York, Rome and Paris. He was the recipient of the Tel Aviv Museum prize for young artists as well as The Moses Prize. His works are in renowned collections around the world.
Statement The painting Reunion deals with memory and moments – that special moment when we meet and become one as a group and one with Nature and the power of Nature itself. When I was thinking about the idea of this project I recognized in myself the stress and violence that is present in Jerusalem, where I live and also where my studio is located. These feelings are not new for me. If you live in Jerusalem you live with a dual atmosphere of holy beauty and violence. This is a package deal that comes with living in this great city. My painting is for the dreamers. To create such a Reunion you have to be a dreamer, or at least try. (With permission of INGA Gallery)
Reunion 80cm x 60cm Oil on canvas
SIONA BENJAMIN Siona Benjamin is a painter originally from Bombay, now living in the US. Her work reflects her background of being brought up Jewish in a predominantly Hindu and Muslim India. In her paintings she combines the imagery of her past with the role she plays in America today, making a mosaic inspired by both Indian miniature paintings and Sephardic icons. She has her first MFA in painting and a second MFA in Theater set design, and has exhibited in the US, Europe and Asia. In 2010-11 she was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship for an art project titled Faces: Weaving Indian Jewish Narratives, in which her research was conducted in India. The first exhibit was held in October 2013 at the Prince of Wales museum in Mumbai, India and was covered by The Times of India, The Mumbai Mirror, Midday newspaper and Caravan magazine. Her work has been featured in: The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Financial Times, The Jewish Week in NYC and NJ, The Boston Globe, Art in America, Art New England, Art and Antiques, ArtNews, Moment magazine and several newspapers, magazines, journals and books.
World spins them all About round to tall Trails to be made By all so young and small Blindfolded by my own Watching, learning, forlorn Bridges to be hung By me and you alone Zeus of my dreams Come unfold your wings Nectar of your being Inside my heart it stings
Bridging Pardes 60cm x 80cm Gouache, mixed media and 22 K gold leaf on wood panel
VALÉRIE RAUCHBACH Valérie Rauchbach studied Fine Arts at the Arts Décoratifs School in Paris, and has worked in painting restoration and advertising. Her works have been exhibited in galleries and shows around the world. Valérie excels in drawing, oil painting, and has developed a unique painting technique, based on the use of multi-layered natural sand; giving a sense of presence due to a slight bas-relief impression. Her work is therefore in constant interaction with light, appearing and disappearing at will. Besides her paintings, she is also noted for her Land Art achievements and her work with various mediums. She teaches Fine Arts at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture in Paris. She is a well-known lecturer, has anchored an Art News series on French TV and has written books. The last book was devoted to colors from the point of view of the artist. (“Couleurs”, Y. Michalon) Living in Paris, her works can be seen in many private as well as public collections.
Statement My first idea was to create portraits of Maimonides and Averroes but having to work on a smaller format caused me to change course. I leafed through the beautiful writings of these two illustrious historical figures, always keeping in mind the image of a fragile bridge that nonetheless is becoming increasingly necessary between the three monotheistic religions. I was seduced by a passage written by Maimonides, imbued with tolerance and love for the other. Unfortunately, I was not able to obtain a photocopy of the Maimonides manuscript in Arabic and so—with the utmost deference and humility on my part—I hope my version still imparts the essence of his words. When I work with black sand, the light illuminates it like a memory that is slowly surfacing and brought out of the darkness.
Maimonides 60cm x 60cm (60cm x 80cm with frame) Volcanic sand on canvas
YASSER ROSTOM Yasser Rostom was born in Cairo, Egypt and graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Helwan University. He obtained his Masters degree in Ancient Egyptian Art. Rostom is quickly gaining a reputation for being 'the Egyptian Dali '. A current master of surrealism, Rostom draws stunning imagery that is a blend of ancient and modern to compose something entirely surreal. An enthusiast of pen and ink, Rostom's impeccable technique magnifies the glory and mystique of his subjects and his solid contrasting backgrounds serve the often bizarre messages of the artist who makes his subjects appear as if out of nowhere; the themes of humanity, myth, power and animals make his work powerful and unforgettable. In his work, Rostom reflects on simple everyday situations as well as many of the general thoughts that preoccupy mankind. Each artwork is a dazzling historic mixture of icons, images, and symbols representing a critical view on the world we live in. Staying true to his roots and the Pharaonic art that is a part of his culture and upbringing, and combining it with surrealism, he has created art that has a universal appeal.
Statement The base of this bridge is the very tree of life that all humans have come from. At the center of this tree of life are Adam and Eve. The branches coming out of the tree represent those of all religions (whether known and declared like Islam, Christianity and Judaism, or unknown religions which are represented by the empty branch). Whatever our religion, we are all seeking the light, the Divine Being or God. I have been inspired in this part by Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam”. The love between Adam and Eve is not a love out of choice but a love out of need. They need each other to survive. They are both part of the same tree. In the painting they are each covering the other’s genitals. They are protecting each other. Like Adam and Eve, all humans need each other. With all our faults and differences, we need each other to survive. The black background at the top of the painting represents my extreme sadness at the current situation of the world, and all the wars and atrocities committed in the name of religion. That was also the chief reason that I chose to do the painting in black and white.
The Tree 60cm x 80cm Ink on paper
Catalog of The Bridge exhibition organized and curated by Caravan arts.