Daily News Egypt

The local renaissance twice banned by the government

Daily News Egypt, April 27, 2015
By Nayera Yasser.
“I was quite keen on showing it to the public before it is too late.  However, it was banned twice in Egypt for its political message,” says artist.
Art is a timeless form of documenting the present. Walking into the Sistine Chapel in Rome can teach you about the renaissance era more than books can do. Egyptian artist Mina Nasr attempted to capture one of the nation’s most difficult and enchanting moments via digital painting techniques.
“For me it was the era between the two revolutions, 25 January and 30 June, which deserved documentation for what I saw in front of me and the succession of events. I believe it will not happen again, every event had a different situation,” said Nasr.
With the spark of the 25 January Revolution ignited, Nasr turned to his computer to tell Egypt’s story after the people’s uprising. “Auto Ignition” is Nasr’s colourful series that portrays the post revolution period, in Michelangelo’s style.
“I began my project with the 25 January Revolution, on the third day exactly, which was a good start for me to start documenting this early,” Nasr added. “Just as I started, one of these paintings got displayed in the Biennale, in Beijing in China, which motivated me to complete the project.”
Nasr was inspired by one of his idols, Michelangelo. Therefore, he started using the pioneer’s famous work as a reference for his very own visual documentary, “Auto Ignition”.
“The project combines two distinct periods in history, the Renaissance in Italy and the so-called religious ruling in Egypt, for their common factors,” said Nasr.
Through the use of digital drawing printed on paper; Nasr gave the “Pieta”, “The Creation of Adam”, “Moses” and few more works an Egyptian twists to turn them into sarcastic local masterpieces that tell the bare truth. Even though Michelangelo preferred to use neutral and dark colours to convey his thoughts, Nasr chose an opposite direction.During the Renaissance era, the Vatican managed to control all matters and events in Rome, and according to Nasr, the same exact thing happened in Egypt during the period between 25 January and 30 June. Put in the same conditions, Nasr felt a strong connection with the iconic sculptures by Michelangelo, which made him recreate Michelangelo’s key work to narrate the events in Egypt.
“The bright colours I used in this project, or what I like to call ‘Fantasy’, highly reflect our current era,” Nasr explained. “This colour pallet represents the shallowness of our generation and the outcome of destruction of thoughts, as well as the high tempo of our lifestyle, which is the reason behind everything new and impressive.”
Although the artist believed that this particular period is worth documenting and sharing, the government did not seem to agree with him.
“As soon as the project was done, by the end of the 30 June Revolution, I was quite keen on showing it to the public before it is too late.  However, it was banned twice in Egypt for its political message. That is why it took me a lot of time to display it freely online,” said Nasr.
Nasr, who is a graduate of the Faculty of Applied Arts’ Sculpture Department, remains to manifest his love for art, especially after taking the decision of turning it into his full-time job. Through experimenting and trying new methods, Nasr promises to keep targeting the average local population who has basic knowledge of art.While “Auto Ignition” was banned locally, it was highly celebrated in the other side of the world. “The project was exhibited in Luzern, Switzerland in 2014, a total of 11 art work pieces. It was my first solo exhibition and it lasted for a month,” said Nasr.
“I like trying new things and coming up with new-end result experiences. Digital art is a pure simulation of our current time with all of its rapid events and dramatic progress,” concluded Nasr.
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