Spotlight: Samir Rafi

Green Art Gallery
Alserkal Avenue, Dubai, UAE
14 January – 5 March 2019

Green Art Gallery is pleased to announce a spotlight exhibition on the Egyptian artist Samir Rafi (b.1926, Cairo, d.2004, Paris), as part of its continued programming on underrepresented modernist artists from the region.

Rafi’s oeuvre invites us into a metaphysical world of his own creation, in which his observations of the mundane are burdened by loneliness, despair, and homesickness. His use of a warped sense of perspective, dream-like colours, his mastery of line and shade, and his command of colour planes, all help define this surreal world. Perhaps best known for his trademark imagery of the female form and wolf dog, Rafi’s work almost always employs symbols extracted from his love of nature and his Egyptian childhood. These include references to ancient Egyptian and Nubian wall paintings. These interpretations are used to debate enduring themes such as family, kinship, liberty, and self-determination. Rafi’s experiences in Cairo before and after 1952, his imprisonment in Algeria in the 1960s, and his self-imposed exile in Paris all manifest themselves in his work through his characteristic technique and symbolism. The four main phases of Samir Rafi’s artistic journey are presented in this collection of works spanning half a century.


Samir Rafi, L’avenue Ph. Auguste Depuis le 26 Juin, 1974, pastel on paper, 45 x 75 cm