Nagy Shaker's art - Fatma El-Bakry,
CAIRO – 10 March 2019: Nagy Shaker's wife, Vera Lagator, recounts all about Shaker's life, his relation with his students and their love story.
Before Shaker's farewell
A week before his death, Vera was taking care of him; she wanted to make his last days easier because she wanted to feel that she did everything she could. "I saw this sparkle in his eyes looking at me saying 'Vera, you are beautiful.' His eyes never lie."
Until the last moment Nagy was fighting, working, and taking care of his students at the Faculty of Fine Art. Shaker was unable to live outside Egypt; the maximum time he spent abroad was 21 days.
A love story
"I fell in love with him because he was so kind and a real gentle man; I felt his love. I did not fall in love with his art; I did not know that he was an artist in the beginning. I never looked at him as an artist as I always prefered not to interfere in his art. I looked at him as a lover."
Shaker was against marriage because he believed that he could fall in love several times not just once. Then Vera told him "Shaker, you cannot judge marriage before you try it. He answered "It's ok. We can try it for 5 years. Then after celebrating their fifth anniversary, he asked Vera what they were going to do. She told him to leave it as it is and they spent 42 years together. "So, you can imagine how difficult it is for me to suddenly find myself alone, although I knew the end would come," Vera Said.
"After he passed away, I went to my country, Montenegro, and then came back. The moment I arrived at the airport and realized he is not around and nobody was waiting for me, I got into such a crisis, my blood pressure went 200 and I lost consciousness. I was sent to the hospital and felt that I do not want to live because I felt like I didn't have a purpose in life now that he is gone. Thus, my doctor put me on anti-depressants.
In April, I will travel to my country. I think it will be better because here everything reminds me of him. He passed away 6 months ago; a short period of time that you cannot compare to 42 years. I know this is life but I was happy for 42 years; how many women in the world could find such a man who loves her so much."
Shaker's relationship with his students
Lagator noted that every semester she used to see Shaker's face shine. He used to push all his talented students toward success, following their steps. Today, his students are in the media flourishing day after day; they include Hend Haidar who is the interior designer of a set of booming movies such as "Clash", "Asmaa", "Nawara", "Sheikh Jakson" as well as interior designer and director Hossam Ali and cartoonist and children's illustrator Walid Taher.
Setting part of his house as a gallery
Rihana is Lagator's favorite puppet as it somehow reflects Shaker's spirit. She revealed that she is going to set part of their house as an exhibition to his unique paintings, portraits and puppets, "I will try to put some of his works at some cultural institutions to be shown for the public."
Shaker's early childhood
Shaker was marvelous and spiritual. When he was a child, he used to paint so his mother sent him to an Italian painter who used to draw portraits for King Farouk. Shaker drew lots of impressive portraits at the age of 11. His mother was first shocked and said, "Nagy, this is a vice" but he replied spontaneously, "Mama, this is art." After that he joined the Faculty of Fine Arts, and during his last year, he had to make a graduation project; that is when he first invented Egyptian puppets in 1961.
After his death
"He knew that he is about to leave and told me, 'Look Vera, I do not want you to be sad or upset,' so when I feel depressed, I feel certain that Nagy will not be happy and I want to make him happy and relieved even after his death. I speak to him daily to remind him of his medicine and his appointments. He does not exist but he replies."