Thursday, March 18, 2010

Featured artists for Art in the Afternoon

In just over two weeks, Art in the Afternoon in Avondale Estates kicks off its first series art walk event on Saturday, April 3, 3-7 p. m. in Avondale's Rail Arts District. I've booked a total of 34 artists for all three events! Phew, that was a job, but it was also really cool to hunt down and choose just the right combination of artists to be featured.

I had a thought today that it would be really fun to feature one of the April artists each week day leading up to the event. And today, I'm going to start with Mohamed el-Ganoby. His encaustic work is absolutely stunning, which is why I decided to feature his "Trees" work below on the postcard for April. He is currently one of the exhibitors at Decatur Market & Gallery and when you meet him, you will be completely drawn in by his stories and fascinated by his process.

Mohamed el-Ganoby
Encaustic: (exhibiting at Bart Webb Studio)

Mohamed el-Ganoby was born in 1965, in the Egyptian city of Komombo, surrounded both by the remnants of Egypt's ancient Pharonic heritage and the rich local histories and traditions which the southern part of Egypt is known for. The oldest son of a worker in a sugar factory, el-Ganoby was first drawn to art by the life stories of great European artists he first read about during weekly visits to an uncle's house in the neighboring city of Aswan. These early forays into art history eventually led him, as an adolescent, to delve into the history of modern artistic movements in Egypt, movements which adapted European artistic techniques, tools and forms of modernism to local aesthetic, political and social contexts.

Inspired by both the successes and failures of these earlier generations of Egyptian artists, Ganoby entered the College of Art and Education at the University of Minya, graduating with a degree in art education in 1988. After ten years of teaching art in rural Egypt and in Saudi Arabia, Ganoby moved from the southern part of Egypt to Cairo to pursue his art full time. In early 2007, the artist emigrated once again, this time from the northern part of Egypt to Atlanta, in the Southern United States.

The artist's southern Egyptian roots and years teaching and working in rural environments are evident in his work. A recurring feature of Ganoby's paintings, installations and mixed media pieces is the use of raw materials—sand, wood, spices and wax— chosen both for their association with rural southern Egypt and for their suggestion of primitiveness. The use of such materials draws on the artist's individual memories of time and place, speaks to collective local histories and plays with common stereotypes of Egypt’s rural population as being both backward and the living embodiment of authentic Egyptian culture. His work has been exhibited in galleries throughout Egypt and in group exhibitions in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Frankfurt, Germany.

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