Omar El Nagdi

3 February 2008 - 18 February 2009

Omar El Nagdi presents his collection of paintings featuring expressive textures, colours and Egyptian symbolic design. His paintings display life into timeless symbolism that goes beyond mere decoration to discover a mixture of humanist and mystic sensibilities. Poetic and sensitive, his work allows him to incorporate the Pharaonic and Islamic cultures based on his thoughts as a modern man.
El Nagdi was in Cairo in 1931. At the age of 22 he decided to follow his dreams of becoming an artist and attended at the Faculty of Fine Arts Helwan University in 1953. During his studies he participated in many exhibitions in Biennales in Egypt, Europe and the former Soviet Union where he was awarded a one-year scholarship to study ceramics in 1959.
During his career he has won several awards for his paintings and he has since gone on to become a successful sculptor, director, musician and philosopher. His exceptional gift for symbolic design has been recognized in several books which have been published on his work in Europe and Egypt.
The Egyptian artist Omar El-Nagdi, whose work is inspired by the Islamic heritage, is another master of this kind of art. Born in Bab Al-Shaariya not far from the Al-Shaarani Mosque, El-Nagdi developed an eye for calligraphy from an early age. Visitors to the Museum of Letters and Manuscripts in Paris had the chance to admire some of his exceptional work not long ago.

Omar El Nagdi’s works are inspired by the Islamic heritage, and a master of this kind in art. Born in Bab Al-Shaariya not far from the Al Shaarani Mosque, El Nagdi developed an eye for calligraphy from an early age. Visitors to the Museum of Letters and Manuscripts in Paris had the chance to admire some of his exeptional work not long ago.


El Nagdi envisions his art in a wider perspective thank the merely physical. This is how he puts it: “God created perfection and absolute beauty in a world of eternal being before man was created. He created the world of the transcendental, light giving logos before anyone could read it, as it preceded the creation of man. When God created man, his first command was: read”.


The Arabic alphabet included all the elements of geometry in its three-dimensional as well as its two-dimensional forms. Looking at the Arabic alphabet, one can almost imagine the touch of a hand exploring its calligraphic potential, investigating its various paths, moving from the circular to the angular, following the curvatures of its nature and aspiring to the heights of its architecture.


Take the letter (I), for example, with its concave structure and elegant capping, or (a), with its subtle composition and malleability of form. There is a poetry in the way the Arabic letters connect and a subtleness in the way they flow. In the hands of a skilled artist, the scope for innovation is immense, and in the hands of an adventurous one, it is almost unlimited.