Back to the complete issue
Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Iconic Egyptian Artists

George Bahgoury: More than “the Picasso of Egypt”: Egyptian-French painter, sculptor, caricaturist and cartoonist George Bahgoury’s cubist-style paintings draw inspiration from Egyptian heritage and culture, and have led to comparisons with Picasso. His work has been extensively showcased in Cairo and internationally, including in the Louvre Museum, the Museum of Modern Art in Amman, the Museum of Modern Art in Cairo, and the Al Masar Gallery for Contemporary Art in Zamalek.

Bahgoury’s work is infused with his artistic philosophy and his political beliefs: His early work as a cartoonist combined political satire with promotion of Pan-Arabism, women’s rights and national reform.


Inji Aflatoun: An artist and a feminist activist, critics called Aflatoun a “pioneer of modern Egyptian art” for her surrealist and cubist paintings. She was one of the first women to study in the arts department of Cairo University and in 1945 she took part in the creation of the League of Young Women in Universities and Institutes which promoted left-wing, anti-colonial politics, and campaigned for gender equality. She was arrested in the 1950s before being released in 1963, where she continued her activism in the form of paintings under the “Art et Liberté” (Art and Freedom) movement.


Mahmoud Mokhtar: We’re sure everyone has come into contact with at least one piece of Mokhtar’s work: the Nahdet Misr sculpture in front of Cairo University. However, he started off small. Born to a peasant family, he would mold artwork out of mud near the Nile riverbanks before he moved to Cairo and joined the first class of École Égyptienne des Beaux-Arts school in 1908. He also moved to France to continue his studies and while there he created the original miniature Nahdet Misr statue which sat in a French gallery. It caught the eye of visiting Egyptian students and they returned to Egypt with a campaign to commission, fund, and erect a monumental version of the sculpture. Mokhtar was thrown into prominence in the Egyptian art scene and became known for combining Pharaonic imagery with a modern European sculptural aesthetic in his widely nationalistic works.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

Enterprise is available without charge thanks to the generous support of EFG Hermes (tax ID: 200-178-385), the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets; SODIC (tax ID: 212-168-002), a leading Egyptian real estate developer; SomaBay (tax ID: 204-903-300), our Red Sea holiday partner; Infinity (tax ID: 474-939-359), the ultimate way to power cities, industries, and homes directly from nature right here in Egypt; CIRA (tax ID: 200-069-608), the leading providers of K-12 and higher level education in Egypt; Orascom Construction (tax ID: 229-988-806), the leading construction and engineering company building infrastructure in Egypt and abroad; Moharram & Partners (tax ID: 616-112-459), the leading public policy and government affairs partner; Palm Hills Developments (tax ID: 432-737-014), a leading developer of commercial and residential properties; Etisalat Misr (tax ID: 235-071-579), the leading telecoms provider in Egypt; and Industrial Development Group (IDG) (tax ID:266-965-253), the leading builder of industrial parks in Egypt.