Fathi Afifi (Egyptian, born 1950)
Title unknown at time of print, 2018
Signed ‘2018 F.AFIFI ‘signature’’ (lower right)
Oil on canvas
139.5 x 98 cm
Ksh 440,000 – 660,000
(US$) 4,000 – 6,000
Provenance: Direct from the artist

Cairo’s crowded streets and neighbourhoods are brilliantly portrayed in the large-scale paintings of distinguished Egyptian artist Fathi Afifi, who strives to expose the pulse of everyday Cairene life.
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 his 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).

Afifi seeks to reflect reality rather than romanticise Cairo, which is home to more than 17 million people, most of whom are struggling financially. His paintings reflect how Egyptians’ daily routines have 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.

A member of a number of local art associations, Afifi has held exhibitions in Cairo, Austria, Cuba and Mexico. His work has come up at recent African Contemporary Art auctions such as Sotheby’s.