By Nayera Yasser
In a wide room with industrial décor, the flow of red, blue and gold put everyone in a circular track from one painting to another, as one anonymous story unfolded.
At Katameya’s newest art hub “The Popup Shop” Amy Abd El-Baky, a young artist on the path of linking art to life and society, set her newest series of paintings “Jars of Clay”.
As the second floor was emptied, Abd El-Baky’s masterpieces were centred under the light and organised in a strategic order that allows all visitors to clearly see the sequence.
At one glance, everyone in the room noticed the suffering, the unity, and then the relief of having a second chance. The paintings clearly spoke to the crowd who instantly started taking photographs and inquiring about the prices.
“We are all made of clay and one day we will be clay again, meanwhile life happens,” said Abd El-Baky. “I have been working on this series since October, and you can take it either politically or personally; at the end of the day we all have cracks that diffuse us.”
The timing of the exhibition, right after the killings of 20 Egyptians in Libya, added a lot of feeling to the paintings, which aimed to convey the notion of mourning death a new kind of depth.
According to Abd El-Baky, humans are vehicles made of clay, and their soul is the light within. However, life’s struggles and loss crack these vehicles, and only then does the genuine light come out.
Abd El-Baky decided to showcase her work during the current events to shed light on the importance of embracing our struggles and moving forward.
“When united, our light shines out best and then we all go in separate directions,” said Abd El-Baky, while pointing to one of her paintings. “If you look closely, you will notice that each head is looking in a different direction to represent their future paths.”
To help her idea come across clearly, Abd El-Baky used actual sand to literally incorporate clay into her paintings. “There was a house under construction next to the place where I drew these paintings, and I used to cross over to take some sand and put it on my paintings,” said Abd El-Baky.
Moreover, the artist used straight gold to represent inner light; and the combination of red and blue to create a full picture out of clashing anger and calmness. On the other hand, the lines manifested the flow of life.
“If you look closely you would see that the heads are never on the same line,” Abd El-Baky added. “This flow represents life, the heart beats go up and down. If it is a straight line then it represents death! This is why you would not see any straight lines here.”
Regarding the chronology, Abd El-Baky ensured that the series always ends at the same point regardless of the viewer’s direction. The series was concluded with two paintings, “Salvation” and “Deliverance”, which by definition embody the serenity of death and the end of the journey.
Jars of Clay is one of the first exhibitions held in the Fifth Settlement, specifically at the Popup Shop, which is a designer store that aspires to support the young local talents.