Adel El-Siwi - Contemporary Art Day Sale London Friday, October 17, 2008 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Le Violon Bleu Gallery, London

  • Catalogue Essay

    Adel El-Siwi is an artist whose depictions portray important figures from Egypt’s vibrant cultural scene in an aesthetic that is heavily influenced by the Western Pop Art tradition. The artists, singers and actors that occupy Siwi’s canvases are all affectionately rendered, affirming their position as figures of adulation in Egyptian society, and recalling, much like Chant Avedissian’s work, the era of lost glamour and celebrity which characterised Cairo in the 1950’s and 1960’s. In the present work, Siwi’s choice of subject matter, like that of his compatriot Avedissian ( see lot 67 ), is the iconic singer Umm Kalthoum who was an enigmatic figure in Cairo’s popular scene in the early decades of the 20th century. Siwi’s motivation for choosing Kalthoum as his subject of portrayal lies not only in her fame as a recognized figure, but extends to the particular qualities she symbolized. Despite her international renown and great wealth, Kalthoum shunned the excess and debauchery that gripped so many of those thrust into the limelight. Instead, she was a paradigm of morality, humble in her demeanor and known for her intellectual pursuits. By rendering Kalthoum’s likeness, Siwi not only points towards her illustrious and legendary career, but highlights her as a figure who encapsulated core societal values and one who served as a popular role model for all Egyptians.


Umm Kalhoum

Mixed media on canvas.
160 x 140 cm. (63 x 55 1/8 in.)

£20,000 - 30,000 

Contemporary Art Day Sale

18 Oct 2008 2pm