31
JUMP TO LOT
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

20th Century Art / Middle East

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London

Omar El-Nagdi
B. 1931
EGYPTIAN
THE LETTER HEH
signed and dated Omar El. Nagdi 1960 
pencil and oil on celotex
99 by 100cm.; 39 by 39 3/8 in.
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Provenance

Collection of the Artist, Cairo
Acquired directly from the above by the present owner in 2007

Catalogue Note

One of Egypt’s most celebrated artists, Omar El Nagdi is renowned for his calligraphic period which he initiated in the 1960s when he began studying the arts of mosaics at The Academy of Fine Arts in Venice. One of the youngest artists to be included in the ‘L’Encyclopédie Européenne des Artistes Étrangers’ at the age of 40; El Nagdi’s calligraphic artistic practice is inspired from Sufism. The consistent repetition of a letter or a number channels the meditative elements of Sufism, in this present painting the word - “Allah” is repeated to form the Arabic letter “H” is akin to transcendental twirling of the Sufi dervishes.

Working with no more than 5 colours to one painting, El Nagdi says in an interview with Anna Wallace Thompson: “its mystic; the use of black and white. Black is night. Black absorbs things and takes them into itself and hides them. White is lightness and the sun. Everything is clear and open: One takes in, one gives out.” His calligraphic period is heavily influence by tasswuf (to become a Sufi); inextricable from the Islamic idea of oneness is his use of the word Allah – the divine – presently, which is essentially the unanimous symbol of Islam.

Possibly one of the first examples of calligraphic works by El Nagdi; this rare example was his initiation into art of calligraphy and an insight into his personal exploration of Sufism.

20th Century Art / Middle East

|
London