Fathi Afifi Abdel Aziz Darweesh

Fathi Afifi Abdel Aziz Darweesh 1918-1981
A pioneer of Expressionism art in Egypt.
Afifi’s paintings capture the movement of the masses of people, or
shaab, who travel through Cairo’s congested streets, sidewalks,
train stations, factories and coffee shops. Afifi is himself a product
of the culture that he illustrates in this work; he was born in 1950 in
the Sayeda Zeinab quarter of Cairo. He is informed by this
immensely crowded low-to-mid income district, home to a mosque
dedicated and named after the granddaughter of the Prophet
Muhammed (PBUH).
Darweesh received his Ph.D. from “The San Fernando
Academy” in 1952. He held the position of head of the painting
department at the Faculty of Beaux Arts in 1969 and received a
special appreciation medal and the title of Bakuya from the King
of Morocco, Mohammed V in 1952.
Afifi seeks to reflect reality rather than romanticise Cairo, home to
more than 17 million people, most of whom are struggling
financially. His paintings reflect how Egyptians’ daily routine has
become mechanical and impersonal. Bold brush strokes, textured
canvas and sketch-like technique convey the grittiness of streets
and the transience of the perpetual movement of people and
machines. Monotonous blank faces show how masses can share
little connection to their routine and those around them.
He was assigned to teach in Cairo University, Ain Shams
University, the Faculty of Fine Arts in Alexandria and the
Leonardo da Vinci Institute in Cairo. After 1976, Darweesh was
delegated to work in Yemen to prepare a generation of artists
and founded the Faculties of Fine Arts in Yemen and Syria.
A member of a number of local art associations, Afifi has held
exhibitions in Cairo, Austria, Cuba and Mexico.

Fathi Afifi Abdel Aziz Darweesh Gallery