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Get to know Arts Mart artists one question at a time!

Arts Mart: Where does your mind go when you are painting?

Mohamed Sabry: What happens when I begin painting is something I call “The battle of the white surface”. There’s a battle that begins with a blank surface of a canvas or wood or whatever the medium is.

The hardest moment is the collision of mind, hand, and surface at the very start of work. Building the work may take me consecutive days. Once the base is there, I can leave it and go back any time to fill in color.

I am not a hostage of the one painting, when one painting is successful and is sold I don’t repeat it. I don’t plan or strategize before work. I start with coal and I have no idea what I’m about to do, I just do what comes to me in that instant.


Arts Mart: What do you like or enjoy the most about being an artist in Egypt?

Mohamed Sabry: I am highly affected by the early stages of fine arts in Egypt. Hamed Nada, Abdel Hadi El Gazzar, Samir Rafe’, evolved art from a European perspective to an Egyptian point of view. Back then, art was for the love of art not business-oriented.

My work is copied a lot, and that is the weakness of this generation that I am counted as a part of. Every year there are around 2000 graduates from fine arts, out of whom 5 are actually innovative, and not all five have the drive of other less innovative ones. I wish in Egypt we had intellectual property protection for our sake and the sake of Egypt.

This generation is not artistically cultured and educated, and there is no bank of visual accumulations. I have a visual bank from the village where I grew up. I never had a drawing instructor, and I am the first from my village to go to college. Now with my son, I want him to learn and be exposed to have authenticity to anything he does.

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