Artist Razan Saeed is the second Artist of the Month in our year-long series done in collaboration with Art Egypt spotlighting Egyptian artists.
Artwork by Razan Saeed Photos courtesy of Art Egypt
Razan Saeed is a bold collage artist whose colorful work tackles themes like domestic life, femininity and violence in effortless pieces that break boundaries and raise questions. Saeed is arguably the most important collage artist in Egypt now; she expresses her generation’s ideas in a very unique way. The most beautiful thing about her artwork is that she doesn’t believe in restrictions, putting anything together into her art, which always manages to be beautiful. We think she’s in a position to become a collage legend.[caption id="attachment_459575" align="alignnone" width="620"] Women in Battle, paper collage, 80x80cm, 2014[/caption]
Can you tell us a bit about yourself, and your background?
I graduated in 2013 from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Cairo, from the Mural Painting Department, and I started my career in art after graduation. I’ve participated in many international and local exhibitions and workshops including La palette Du Monde in 2015 in Tunisia, the I Am Woman exhibit at Casoria Contemporary Art Museum in 2014 in Italy and the Women on Walls street art project in 2013 in Cairo.
What inspires your art?
Daily events and society inspire me, whether political or social events. And also the issues and problems that concern me as a woman and an artist. All of these are important to me because they give me ideas and build my thoughts. As is evident in most of my art, the woman is the defining aspect of my work.[caption id="attachment_459577" align="alignnone" width="620"] Rehanna, paper collage, 20x45cm, 2014[/caption]
How has your art changed and evolved over the years?
Through my study at the Department of Mural Painting, and when I started to use materials like glass and mosaic, it made me get a feel for the materials and think about how to use them properly, giving me wider prospects for experience. I began using collage instead of two-dimensional drawing. What helped me the most to improve myself and my skills was looking at all kinds of old and new art. And continuous hard work.
Tell us about how you work and make your art.
First, something inspires me or I have an idea in my imagination, but it’s not clear enough. So the next phase is making a sketch. I try to clarify the idea till I get what I want, then I prepare the materials that I will use like old photos, magazines, colors, patterns and wallpaper. I never start working till I feel that I am satisfied with the concept, materials and composition.
What do you like most about making your art?
I like the first phase of my work, which is collecting materials like photos, papers, etc. I think it’s the most important phase of my work, and I love the pop colors that I use.[caption id="attachment_459578" align="alignnone" width="620"] The Space Room (series,) paper collage, 2015[/caption]
What are your thoughts on the art scene in Egypt?
I believe in freedom of thought and expression, creativity, experimentation, and respecting others’ opinions, whatever they are. I also think that art is lately doing well in Egypt because of the impact of social media, which leads to spreading awareness of the artists and their works — it’s become easier now to identify the artists and to contact them. Galleries in Egypt have recently become open to many young artists, not just to famous artists. There are non-profit cultural institutions and organizations working to support young artists and hold exhibitions for them. Art in Egypt is becoming more diverse, and it doesn’t include only drawing. A lot of artists now use different media in their works, such as video art, installation, photography and performance.
Who is your favorite Egyptian artist?
There are a lot of artists such as Saif Wanly, when it comes to Egyptian art. And Egon Schiele, Henri Mattisse and Tom Wesselmann, when it comes to international artists.
What are your plans for the future?
I never thought of making any plans. I just want to make art and express myself through my artwork.[caption id="attachment_459579" align="alignnone" width="620"] Usual Carnage, paper collage, 80x60cm, 2015[/caption]
Art Egypt (@art_egypt) is an Instagram account that boasts the largest database of young artists in the country. Their aim is to promote contemporary fine art from today’s most talented Egyptian artists. To be considered for upcoming Artist of the Month features, send your artwork to Art Egypt at firstname.lastname@example.org.