Lust for Color Exhibition by Gazbia Sirry
The Lust for Color exhibition displays a collection of oil paintings donated to the University by internationally renowned Egyptian artist Gazbia Sirry.
The oil on canvas original paintings were personally donated to the University by Sirry in 2008 and represent four decades of her life in Egypt, Europe and North America. “I donated these paintings because I want the next generation to know about my art and about that period in Egyptian life,” said Sirry, who won numerous awards including the State Fellowship for Creative Artists, Huntington Hartford Foundation Fellowship, a Fulbright and the National Museum for Women in the Arts Fellowship. Among her many honors are the first prize at the Salon du Caire, State Merit Prize, and Order of Sciences and Arts, first degree.
“[The objective of donating the] 16 paintings of my work representing the different developments of my art, in addition to my mural of 10 meters x 1.3 meters that was donated to AUC in the mid-seventies and is presently displayed in the Jameel Center, is to build a nucleus of an art museum at AUC to serve art students studying the modern art movement in Egypt,” explained Sirry. “I have high hopes that AUC will achieve these objectives,” added Sirry at the inauguration ceremony.
The nature of Sirry's work is emblematic of modern art in Egypt and the region, and is inspired by the contemporary history of Egypt’s social and cultural shifts. “I believe that from the beginning of my career, my inspiration has been my personal reaction to society,” said Sirry, whose education brought her from Cairo to Europe’s artistic centers in Rome, Paris and London. However, the heart of her work did not stray from Egypt. “These are paintings about this place, this country,” she said. In addition to her work as an artist, Sirry previously served as a painting instructor at AUC.
Shems Friedlander, professor of practice in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication and the director of The Photographic Gallery, described Sirry as “a senior Egyptian artist who is recognized on an international level. Her value to both the University and Egypt is both as an artist and a historian of Egypt's culture for over 60 years. She has both joined and led the trends in Egyptian art for several decades."
In the course of her career, Sirry has hosted 68 solo exhibitions for her work in Egypt, the Middle East, Europe and North America. Her work has been auctioned in Christie’s, a famous auction house for fine art in Dubai, and has been acquired for numerous public and private collections across the globe. She has also received multiple international awards, and many of her pieces have been displayed in prominent institutions around the world including The National Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. and the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris. She is also the first Egyptian to exhibit work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
The exhibition is displayed at The Photographic Gallery, Abdul Latif Jameel Hall, AUC New Cairo and is open until September 2014.