Egypt and her family of artists have lost a friend with the passing of veteran sculptor and painter Nagy Kamel, who passed away on18 February
Egypt and her family of artists have lost a friend with the passing of veteran sculptor and painter Nagy Kamel, who passed away on18 February.
Kamel’s prolific artworks of contemporary Egypt conveyed the times, the places and the rich heritage of the nation. Behind every touch of his brush and chisel was a wide background of visualisation and deeply rooted values, his vision expressed with his own perspective. He managed to realise new aesthetics of contemporary art that melted into in his authentic Egyptian heritage.
With his creative, multi-colourful skills over the more than 50 years he spent as a sculptor, painter and committed caricaturist, Kamel is considered a pioneers in these three fields. His artistic career was launched from the Luxor atelier, and his post-graduate studies in sculpture enriched his style, adding the sensitivity and romance he created with his much his loved tools.
Because he was skilled in using different materials, including watercolour, ink and tinctures, Kamel made various creations in caricature and sculpture. He was known for his portraits of journalists and politicians, and for the medallion of the then new Nubia Museum as well as the giant mosaic on the façade of the Rose al-Youssef building. Another collection of works he called “Myself”, saying they were they were part and parcel of himself. He often used hot and cold colours in the same artwork.
Kamel’s creations clearly reflected his use of the pharaonic, Coptic and Islamic heritage, along with the rhythms of the Egyptian and folkloric community and the landscapes of Upper Egyptian villages and their customs and traditions. He is considered among those artists who strove to preserve the Egyptian spirit in their artwork.
Following his graduation from Cairo University’s faculty of fine arts at in 1957, Kamel spent two years at the Luxor attelier studying Egyptian art. In 1959 he joined the Cairo weekly magazine Rose al-Youssef as a journalist cartoonist.
Kamel represented Egypt at many local and international exhibitions. Hs last was in 2011, when he showed in the 100 Years of Caricature exhibition. He showed his sculpture in contemporary art exhibitions in Yugoslavia in 1966; at an exhibition of African art in Accra in 1967, and at the seventh round of the Alexandria Biennale in 1968. Kamel represented Egypt at the fukaha(humour) conference in Hyderabad, India, in 1985, and at an exhibition in Italy 1997.
Kamel received several prizes and medals. His works hang in the Museum of Modern Egyptian Art at Al-Ahram, at the Safir Hotel in Hurghada and as private acquisitions in Egypt, Canada, the United States, Germany, Lebanon and Italy.
As well as working Rose al-Youssef, he became a caricaturist for Dar al-Hilal in 1956 and also worked for Al-Massa##, and, since 1980 Al-Ahram. He also contributed to several books and magazines.
During the last year, Kamel generously contributed a weekly cartoon to www.wataninet.com , the daily online paper of Watani. He will be sorely missed at this journal as well as all others he enriched with his creations.
26 February 2013