In a way Rome, in present day Italy, is the disciple of the 'Greek' Athens. Actually, from a multi-cultural aspect, Athens is, in turn, the disciple of Ancient Egyptian civilization.
This ineffable thread has fired my passionate affiliation with Rome, a city where I spent an entire year during my term at the Fine Arts Academy of Rome (the Academia di Belle Arti di Roma) prior to completing my studies at the Florence Academy of Art. I lived and idolized Rome of the 1960s at the zenith of its glory as a center of music, theater, arts, cinema, and plastic art; above all, I idolized its boundless riches and the light-hearted gaiety of its people, one which so closely resembles Egyptian people's exuberant spirit and love of the fantastic.
I have been an ardent admirer of Fellini's Rome, a Rome that is both playful and dignified. In my own way, and from a cultural perspective of Egypt of the 1960s, I have long worshipped its enchanting streets and fountains, its serenely majestic buildings, and its charming cafes. To me, all these features represent a source of aesthetic pleasure, one to which I returned in 2015 to paint these treasures for the first time. In depicting these images, I documented and affirmed my deep ardor and sentiments towards Rome. To my delight, I found that it has retained its serene grandeur and timeless beauty.
One thing that sparked an angry response within me was learning that, due to economic and political considerations, several of Rome's sculpted works were covered during an official visit as they were deemed 'profane'. This act struck me as misguided and even ignoble.
In worshipping Rome, I achieved a sense of empathy with this city. Despite Ancient Rome's destruction of our Alexandrian civilization and its harsh stance towards Ancient Egyptian culture in general, I believe with all my heart that both the Romans and the city's present day inhabitants embody the qualities of a truly peace-loving and humanistic people.
This exhibition is both a tribute and a message of love towards Rome: the Eternal City!
The ArtistFarghali Abdel-Hafiz