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Hanan El-Sheikh Biographyback to courses

Dr. Hanan elsheikh, Doctor in the painting Art Department, at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Cairo. Born in 1973, Cairo, Egypt. Lives and works in Cairo.

Hanan El Sheikh graduated with a B.Sc. from the Faculty of Fine Arts at Helwan University in Cairo in 1996 and a M.A. in Islamic painting in 2003 then a pH.d. in art philosophy 2009. She has taught at the Faculty of Fine Arts since 1998. El Sheikh has devoted much time to arts eductaion for children since 1996, teaching at the El Gezira Club, the summer school of the Faculty of Fine Arts, the Neda pre-school for deaf children and as an ABACUS instructor at UC MAS Egypt.

El Sheikh has also set her talent to the stage, painting most of the backdrops of the stage scenes for the Cairo Opera House Theatre between 1996-2001, for productions by companies such as Opera Taiess and Ballet of Osiers.

She has participated in numerous exhibitions, biennales and events, in Egypt and abroad, and received several awards for her work, which is now represented in private national and international collections.

On her art:

I think of an idea, a simple one, the simplest idea around which to build a painting, and search for an object that has a meaning for everyone, such as bicycle. We all know the bicycle, but how do we perceive it? It may represent a child at play, or a worker using it as a daily mode of transport or as a work tool, or something else altogether. For me, it is an object of great balance. I take the image and begin to play with it. I balance it visually, but it is not really in balance at all. It has no rider, no spokes or chains, and although it is a very real bicycle, it is actually not real at all. It may have a feeling of balance, but this is a game as it cannot realistically have that balance.

To me, the colour white has a sense of deep space, of air, though it can also be as solid as a wall. I work on canvas with oils, starting with a very dark preparatory layer of deep brown oil colour and only then painting on the light. I cover the canvas again by using a pallet knife, leaving lines of this dark layer to come through, as if I were drawing them. To obtain different degrees of white, I use different types of opaque and transparent white oils and use a dry brush to paint in my object to give it a rougher appearance.


For me, Art is Life. So a painting is a part of Life, and not only of my life, but of anyone else’s who sees it. This is why I always approach my painting with simplicity and try to balance real life with the magic box that is the painting. The painting is to me as simple as it really is, but to viewers, it will mean whatever it will mean to them. I paint to know myself, and when I do come to know myself, I will stop painting. But I cannot truthfully see that happening.

Some Of The Instructor’s Work

Saleh Abdel Sabour Saleh Abdel Sabour Saleh Abdel Sabour Saleh Abdel Sabour