El-Nachar’s Geometric Abstraction

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Today is a great day!!

Why is today a great day? you might ask.

Well, dear reader, I will tell you.  It is a great day because today I discovered the work of Abdel Rahman El-Nachar, an Egyptian painter and university professor who painted from 1956 until his death in 1999.  I am amazed that I had never heard of him before because his body of work is extraordinarily impressive, each piece bursting with much more detail than my meager laptop screen can do justice to. He began his art career working within the expressionistic and moving into surrealism before turning his efforts towards pieces inspired by Islamic art.  These experiments in geometric abstraction (shown in this post) are beautiful and confrontational, where the viewer is bombarded by visual information, often of disparate character but bound together in one space to create some of the most harmonious, balanced, and downright fascinating work that I have ever seen.

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Most of the work Abdel Rahman El-Nachar can be found at the Nachar-Zeinab Museum or the Zamalek Art Gallery, both in his native Egypt.  Mr El-Nachar, quoted on the Nachar-Zeinab Museum website, originally found in the artist’s 13th exhibition catalog reads:

Dear viewers :
One may ask where are you heading to ?
Is there still any modernization after having discovered this new world ?
Is here still a remaining part of the road ?
The answer is that I am a true worshipper of Allah … an artist who, aided by his lines and colours pray to Allah. And with such persistence, reverence, patience, exertion, anticipation and belief in the ONE GOD, I hope to go ahead from where I ended towards more experimentation in order to contribute to the modernization of culture, expressing the sentiments of a Moslem artist from the East.

Where one could see confusion and disharmony in these pieces, there is quite clearly something of the mystical in the mathematical precision of Mr El-Nachar’s colors, lines, and forms.  Looking at these paintings, I see not only the artist’s religious conviction and faithfulness in a mysterious something next, but also the honest acknowledgement that a fragmented society results in fragmented people, whose best bet is to attempt to bring something new into the world. To bring something new and hope that it will be beautiful, that it will ring true to others, that the divisions that exist inside all of us could be the very things that bind us together.

If you get a chance to see these breathtaking pieces before I do, send me a picture or two.  I will be very happy for you – and very, very jealous.


abd el rahman el nachar flatness egypt art geometric abstraction islamic art

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