AMMAN- In its second iteration, the Egypt International Art Fair (EIAF) opened its doors to audiences between February 26th – 28th at Dusit Thani Lakeview Cairo. Its reopening made it one of the first art fairs in the world to commence after the COVID19 breakout.

Under strictly adopted COVID19 safety measures, the fair presented works by 120 artists from across the Arab world and its diaspora who were represented by 17 galleries, almost double the numbers the fair held in its first iteration in 2020.

artmejo’s booth at the second edition of Egypt INT’L Art Fair

For the second iteration, the Jordanian presence at EIAF came in strong with 4 debut gallery booths and art spaces representing a total of 15 artists. These are artmejo, The Artinerary, Jacaranda Images and Jodar Artistry.

For artmejo’s first gallery participation at an international art fair, we represented three of our favourite Jordanian artists: Khaldoun Hijazin, Muna Amareen and Zaina El Said

Khaldoun Hijazin’s artwork at artmejo’s booth at Egypt INT’L Art Fair

Two of Hijazin’s signature candy works greeted guests at artmejo’s booth. One painting showcased a delicious take on modern calligraphy. With Jell-o “Wows” and “Yays” floating in a surreal environment of Vimto syrup and Fruit Loops. The other painting, first exhibited at the artist’s 2019 solo exhibition Majestic Play at Wadi Finan Art Gallery, represents the almost impossible task of choosing between chocolate and plain milk.

Muna Amareen’s artwork at artmejo’s booth at Egypt INT’L Art Fair

Hijazin’s wall-mate, Muna Amareen, showcased a different type of clash, one of art’s formal elements. Colours, shapes, lines and textures fight on Amareen’s heavily layered canvases for her audience’s gaze. Amareen’s background in printmaking is strongly visible in her artwork, as layers of simple geometric patterns drown beneath more layers of transparent pigment, only to be covered again with a coating of more lines and shapes.

Zaina El Said’s artwork at artmejo’s booth at Egypt INT’L Art Fair

Closing off artmejo’s participation at EIAF are Zaina El Said’s defiant women who dominated the wall circumfying the booth. A sense of defiance radiates from El Said’s digital collages through the presence of her characters’ striking traditional outfits and the use of nostalgic colour schemes.

General view of The Artinerary’s booth at Egypt INT’L Art Fair

Moving towards The Artinerary’s booth, there were four represented artists: Ahmad Turki, Mohammad Tamimi, Waaed Qwayder and Hani Alqam. For their EIAF debut, The Artinerary showcased figurative works mostly made by mid-career artists. The four artists’ works held a common theme in the mood they evoked in audiences, a gloomy and more reflective atmosphere was hung in the air.

General view of Jodar Artistry’s booth at Egypt INT’L Art Fair

Contrasting with the above is Jodar Artistry’s selection which was full of earthy tones and radiated hope and positivity. Jodar sent works by 4 artists to represent the gallery: Ali Amr, Brahim Jawabreh, Ghassan Abu Laban and Raida Shahin. Each of the artists’ brush strokes were highlighted in full display at EIAF.

General view of Jacaranda Images’ booth at Egypt INT’L Art Fair

Last but not least of the Jordanian participants is Jacaranda Images who were present at the art fair alongside 4 of their most celebrated artists: photographer Tariq Dajani, Jordanian pioneer Yasser Dweik, Ahmed El Khaldi and Tamer Al Ahmar.

The art fair was received with generally positive reviews and had major figures from inside and around the visual art scene physically present. During the fair, artmejo collaborated with artist Lamis Yousef on a two-day virtual tour of the fair. During her takeover, Lamis documented her visit as well as her interviews with major figures like Sudanese artist Rashed Diab and gallerist George Kamel of the Syrian George Kamel Gallery on artmejo’s story highlights on Instagram.

Read more from Sama Shahrouri.
Image courtesy of Lamis Yousef and Egypt INT’L Art Fair.