In the scope of the ongoing events of the Space of Culture, Heliopolis University for Sustainable Development hosted an art exhibition by the Egyptian artist Lina Osama. In the light of the first autumn sun, large paintings were shining at the walls of the main hall of the Business Department; mainly portraits drawn on abstract, yet colorful backgrounds. Every painting tells a story out of the life of the contemporary visual artist.
“SEKEM is very important for me. I first came here in 2006 with my Professor Mohamed Abla and met the founder, Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish, who deeply appreciated arts,” said Lina Osama during her inaugural speech. “SEKEM supported me in the beginning of my career by funding my first scholarship at the Salzburg International Summer Academy for Fine Arts in Austria.”
Living Units of Humanity
Lina Osama studied Egyptology and Painting at Cairo University. Meanwhile, she participated in more than 40 exhibitions in Egypt, Austria, France, and Morocco. Together with friends, the artist has founded a series of exhibitions entitled “Living Units of Humanity’’. “The idea of that project was triggered by the incidence of the Egyptian revolution. During this period, I noticed the necessity of building bridges between people of different ideologies and backgrounds to foster a peaceful society,” Lina Osama explained. Hence, her vivid paintings reflect humans as equal units of life despite their diversity.
During the event at the campus of Heliopolis University, the 30-years-old Egyptian artist explained how her passion for painting portraits has been formed: “Already during my childhood I loved studying faces. When I then stayed for two years in England with my family, I began drawing the faces of my Egyptian friends and neighbours, whom I missed.” The audience, who were students and staff from Heliopolis University, as well as some of SEKEM’s employees, listened attentively to her stories. One of the participants questioned with curiosity the baby’s portrait, which appeared repeatedly in the artist’s paintings. “This is my two-year-old daughter, Gamila”, Lina Osama said with a smile. “I see her resembling a hopeful future, which all of us are able to create too.”
Deep Belief in Humanity
Next to her daughter, the young artist also portrayed her husband, Mhanny Yaoud, who is a visual artist as well. The couple has started together an artistic proceeding project under the name “The Shared Space”, in which they share their styles on the same canvas. Lina Osama paints mostly using mixed media, “always with a colorful palette that never lacks the colors of nature: green, brown, and blue.”
After her speech, the painter sat with some attendees to discuss her artworks more into detail. She described her motives and feelings behind each painting, which were influenced by her pregnancy, motherhood, and deep belief in humanity. With the exhibition, Lina Osama did not only address many topics that the people could relate to, but mainly stressed on the meaning of unity and diversity as well as the potential of the future – exactly those impulses that the Space of Culture aims to focus on through its different activities.