“The need to change” is what Egyptian artist Khaled Hafez calls for in his artworks. Whether they were video projects or paintings, Hafez’s works capture dramatic movements of the outside world & consistant inner conflicts, sights & thoughts all painted & directed in a multi-elements artwork.
Al Maha met Khaled Hafez in MENASART Fair where he participated in two paintings (Two Goddesses & Two Blacks), (One Sniper & Three Godesses) and a video project called (Revolution) which was produced in 2006 predicting the 2011 events that happened in Egypt last January.
It felt like a chit-chat rathar than an interview! So I’ll let the words flow in this post where Khaled Hafez shares with us exclusively how (January 25th Revolution) affected his artistic style, and the changes he been through and more …
“Let me tell you a story of revolution, an inner revolution. I was working on the saga of my last collection showcased in Cairo Biennale last December, I had a vision and everything was prepared according to it… Then (January 25th) came.
For the first time in 48 years I practiced my political right to speak myself up, participated in demonstrations in (Midan al Tahrir) with my students where we saw kids collecting the remaining bullets of snipers, took part of constitution voting. This entire experience made me feel like a citizen playing a role in changing his country for the first time in 48 years.
Life started to get back to its normal rhythm in February. I continued working in my artworks and new elements came out to the canvas! What I experienced affected me & left a mark on my style of work. I reflected what I saw in (Midan al Tahrir) indirectly to leave a personal impression; you will find bullets, snipers which is a global icon of evil pointing their guns at Hathor, an Ancient Goddess for Pharaos. They are trying to kill part of Egyptian history, part of my identity!
How it affected me?! I never supported “the art of the moment”. But (January 25 Revolution) wasn’t only on a national level, it was on a personal level too! I was systemized that change won’t happen in our countries, and nothing will lead to it. It is all not true; where there is a need to change there is a way.
I usually focus on something in every work; there was a time when I used caligraphy which is part of our Islamic culture. Hathor Goddess of love, beauty, music, motherhood and joy; believing in “feminine supremacy” challenging the common taboo of “male supremacy”. My focus right now is on maintaining the identity of Egypt that is a mixture of Arab, Africans, Mediterranean cultures and has a rich history. We have to take care of it amid the wave of changes.
I wish revolution also reach Art in the Arab countries! We were on the top, pioneers, we must bring that back by being creative and stop importing Art. The Arab Spring is spreading a new identity & Art plays a huge role in it”.
Born in Cairo, Egypt. Hafez studied medicine but abandoned his practice in the early 1990′s for a career in Art. He obtained an MFA in new media and digital arts from Transart Institute (New York, USA) and Danube University Krems, Austria. Hafez’s practice spans the mediums of painting, installation, photography and video.
His works have been shown in festivals and biennials including recent participation in the Manifesta 8, Murcia, Spain 2010, the 12th Cairo Biennale, Egypt 2010 and the Thessaloniki Biennale, Greece 2009. He has exhibited throughout museums including group shows at the Saatchi Gallery, Tate Modern, UK, MuHKA Museum of Art, Antwerp, Belgium, the Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany among others.
Hafez is Fulbright Fellow (2005) and a Rockefeller Fellow (2009) and his works reside in numerous international collections including Saatchi Collection, London, MuHKA Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp, Belgium, Ars Aevi Museum of Contemporary Art, Sarajevo, Bosnia and several other museums.
Al Maha on (Two Goddesses & Two Blacks), (One Sniper & Three Goddesses)
Khaled Hafez artworks are best described to have a “predicting visionary”. He reads signs & translates them into different forms of Art to deliver message, feelings, thoughts… Keep an eye on what’s coming up because you’ll say “Hold on! Khaled Hafez said that in a painting!”
For more info on the artist; please visit www.khaledhafez.com