Arts & Culture

An Artist for Egyptian Women: On the Authentic Warmth of Zeinab Al Sageny’s Art

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An Artist for Egyptian Women: On the Authentic Warmth of Zeinab Al Sageny’s Art

Photo Credit: Watani

In a world that has long been unkind to women, Egyptian artist Zeinab Al Sageny has found solace in her art. Her paintings are colorful and vivacious, the women in her art are powerful and embraceful, and her settings: always Egypt.

A Cairene born and raised, Al Sageny graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in 1956 from Helwan University, and later earned her PhD in Art Education from the same institution in 1978.

In her world of artistry, Al Sageny established a connection with her surroundings, borrowing elements from nature – the Nile and the countryside – to accentuate her paintings.

But the most special theme in her work remains women – in all their forms. Through her brushstrokes, she brings curly-haired, wide-eyed women to life. In her own world, Al Sageny battles through society’s prejudice against women, paying tribute to them with her paintings.

One of the most striking elements of Al Sageny’s work is that her women are not self-effacing or demure, rather, they have large eyes and striking features – her women are bold and loud.

She has a strong focus in her work on the bonds between mothers and daughters.

Al Sageny’s palette is often colorful and earthly, and most of her paintings are made with oil pastels and charcoal. Though she uses simple lines in her work, her paintings are complex enough to convey emotions and feelings of her subjects.

There is an abundance of affection and sensitivity in her work, where the paintings exude strength of their own. It is familiar for everyone, and in every painting, there are bits and pieces of the whole spectrum: the mischiefs, the loud, the quiet, and the nurturing.

Her paintings have been exhibited at a number of exhibitions in Egypt displaying proudly a safe space for all women.

Photo Credit: Al Ein
Photo Credit: Al Ein
Photo Credit: Al Ein
Photo Credit: Al Ein

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Farah Rafik is a graduate from the American University in Cairo (AUC) with a dual degree in Multimedia Journalism and Political Science. After being an active participant in Model United Nation (MUN) conferences both locally and internationally, Farah discovered her love for writing. When she isn’t writing about Arts & Culture for Egyptian Streets, she is busy watching films and shows to review. Writing isn’t completed without a coffee or an iced matcha latte in hand—that she regularly spills. She occasionally challenges herself in reading challenges on Goodreads, and can easily read a book a day.

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