The google doodle of Aflatoun The google doodle of Aflatoun

Honoring Aflatoun, the pioneer of modern Egyptian art

Tue, Apr. 16, 2019
CAIRO – 16 April 2019: Google honored acclaimed late Egyptian painter and feminist Inji Aflatoun on April 16 with a Google doodle to celebrate what would have been her 95th birthday.

The doodle portrayed the great artist in front of her canvas of surrealist and cubist paintings. Critics described Aflatoun as a "pioneer of modern Egyptian art".

The Google doodle honoring Aflatoun is on display in the Middle East and North Africa, and is being shown to users in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the UAE and Oman.

Aflatoun was a great artist and activist who was born on April 16, 1924 to an upper-class Francophone family in Cairo.

Her father was the founder of the entomology department and dean of the Faculty of Science at Cairo University, and her mother, Salha, served in the Women's Committee of the Egyptian Red Crescent Society.

Despite coming from an aristocratic family, Aflatoun’s paintings were much inspired by Egyptian working class people.

As a young child, Aflatoun wasn’t much concerned with social issues but she was bothered by the class structure in her strict Catholic school.

She started to understand and realize life issues and her horizons were broadened at the age of 15, when she went under the mentorship of Egyptian painter Kamel el Telmissany whose work often satirized cultural norms.


Aflatoun’s early paints showed a surreal and scary world, portraying females escaping from fires, dark imagery, storms and birds of prey.


In addition to being a distinguished painter with an exceptional talent,she was also an active feminist, who fought fiercely for women's rights as Egypt moved away from the British occupation until the UK military left Egypt completely in 1952.

In the early 1940s, Aflatoun joined the communist movement, Iskra, and in 1945 she represented a Cairo group of women at the first conference of the Women's International Democratic Federation in Paris.

She wrote two popular political pamphlets in 1948 and 1949 that tackled gender and class inequality and highlighted the fact they're both strongly connected to imperialism.

In mid 1950s, Aflatoun was imprisoned during the era of Gamal Abdel Nasser. Some of Aflatoun's friends smuggled crayons and oils to her in prison.

In 1957, she painted prisoners in jail and it is now on semi-permanent display in Sharjah until at least 2023.

After her release in 1963, she dedicated most of her time to painting, and later in her career she focused on landscapes. Today, Aflatoun's paintings are in many museums and galleries around the world.

Aflatoun died on April 17, 1989, just one day after her 65th birthday.

 
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