As I'm telling you!
by Salma Badawy with Sayed Magdi, stucco artisan
Gypsum, wood, 2014
Salma Badawy spent many days with Sayed Magdy, the stucco craftsmen, talking with him about his private life. This is her approach to creating art that relates to real-life people, landscapes, and situations: first to obtain through observation and deep conversations knowledge of her subject that can perhaps reach beyond the surface of the readily visible form. She decided to portray Sayed through five main themes that she saw as Sayed’s characteristics, typical of an Egyptian man, and illustrated them by objects created in the material and techniques that Sayed uses, at the same time focusing on an individual and bringing out his universal aspects. Each of these themes are illustrated by a specific object created in the workshop by Salma and Sayed together.
The first theme is the figure of the mother as the most important in the family. The second refers to the time that Sayed spent in the 1990s working in Saudi Arabia like so many other Egyptians. The marital family life is illustrated by the figure of the wife. Then the desire for the security of a governmental job is symbolised by an elusive jellyfish. The last of the five objects refers to Sayed’s steadfastness, the integrity and also tenacity of his mind. During the work, Sayed's gentle manners inspired Salma to include a sixth piece to complete the set: his portrait when saying “I'm sorry”.
Klio Krajewska, curator
According to Sayed, it was not difficult to work with Salma, and he found her very respectable, highly creative and sophisticated. He disagrees with her approach to the use of calligraphy, but he consents that she should be free to follow her concepts. Sayed sees her work as highly creative and full of new ideas, but hindered by lack of experience, for example, in carving. Sayed perceives a wide difference between Salma’s work and his own. He sees her creations as show-like work, fit for exhibitions with its creativity and quality, but not for the market. Salma’s new ideas and new approaches sometimes required unconventional methods, and he finds this a useful experience that he can use in his future projects.
based on the interview with Taher ‘Abd al-Ghani of ARCHiNOS Architecture.