07 April, 2014 - 26 April, 2014


Hossam Dirar

Albareh is pleased to invite you to “Awaiting”, the first solo exhibition in Bahrain of Hossam Dirar, one of Egypt’s most energetic emerging artists.


The Opening reception will be on the 7th of April (7:00- 9:00 pm)


Exhibition dates: 7/4/2014 - 26/4/2014


In this exhibition, the Cairo-based artist will showcase a number of oil and mixed media canvases that build upon his 2013 series “Faces”, but yet finding subtler places for an intimacy and warmth that is always elsewhere, far in the distance, almost unreachable. In his depictions of women, the artist is simultaneously looking at carefully and taking distance from his subject matter. Neither abstract not figurative, Dirar’s compositions are created out of pure material, and assembled almost in the manner of frames and moving images rather than at standstill. The ubiquity and speed of his native Cairo is palpable in the fragile environments he builds; it is but through a combination of tension and void that these works gain sculptural frames and become three-dimensional.


Heritage and future blend in his practice, as he draws on ancient Egyptian art, and on the classical tradition of icons and portraits, with their singular effects of oblique perspective and distance. As an astute observer, in these paintings of women, Dirar is asking questions about the female form, with almost child-like curiosity: He is imagining their personalities and their lives, their private surroundings and backgrounds. Nevertheless he is not interested in telling a story: He wants to capture a single moment of intense human experience. It might be the wait, the despair, the impatience.


As it is known from his earlier work with photography, installation and particularly the paintings of Cairo, based on photographs from convoluted times, Hossam Dirar also stands at the threshold of the contemporary, with his brush and palette wanting to emulate the digital, and thus creating documents which are both historical and temporary. But what is a temporary document? It is the question that the works beget. In the same manner that classical Egyptian art translated every aspect of everyday life into art and made it last for thousands of years, the artist is interested in leaving behind a document about the digital age, with the same weight of time that the ancients taught us and that by all means, is absent from contemporary art now a days.


Hossam Dirar was born and raised in Cairo, and graduated from the applied arts department at Helwan University, Egypt, in 2002 and since then his work has been showcased in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Egypt, Slovakia, Germany, France, Italy, Austria and South Africa. Living and working in Cairo, Dirar is one of Egypt’s most significant contemporary artists, included in Saatchi’s portfolio of emerging artists to invest during 2013. Hossam Dirar is a multi-disciplinary artist working across painting, photography, installation, video and graphic design. His works are conceived as a re-interpretation of Egypt’s rich visual heritage, overlapping between the multi-cultural character of Cairo, the city’s complex and ever expanding urban façade, the region’s traditional iconography and the influence of contemporary media in shaping cultural referents.