Diving into the Waters of the Nile

'The Ancient Egyptian Culture revived in a Contemporaneous Form''

Wechahi’s sculptural works of art has reminded me of the Ancient Egyptian’s tombstones engraved inscriptions in Thebes, which read that the souls are brought back to life to behold the sun every day. These works of art are considerably derived from the inspirational primitive culture of the Nile yet are re-presented in a contemporaneous form.

Wechahi born in Al-Manssurah – Egypt , a graduate of the faculty of Fine Arts in Cairo, and now a resident of Emilia–Romagna region of Italy; staying interchangeably in Cesena and Forli – has gone on a quest for the ancient meanings in his civilization; his inexhaustible spring of images and his vehicle for sharing common human thoughts.

Thus, linking his method to some stylistic trends; such as, Henry Moore’s pierced and hollowed forms, Constantin Brâncuşi’s abstract style that emphasizes the absolute continuous line inherent in his forms, and Alberto Giacometti’s mastery of depicting suffering, accentuates that the 19th century European art is indebted to that of the Mediterranean.

The major inspirational ideas for the Wechahi’s sculptural works are symbolic concepts derived from the Ancient Egyptian mythology; the binary opposition of birth/death, fertility/sterility, and self-confidence/fear. Hence emerged the buds of his artistic quest. That quest that has been triggered by a youth work of art entitled “the Cold”, mirroring – in spite of its simplicity – his reaction to the academic artistic sense, and, thus, giving the first signal of his alteration to primitivism. The path Wechahi has chosen to tread in art was later nourished by the artistic heritage where the human being and his struggle with time and place take priority. For this reason, works of art such as “the Martyr” were born – works of art that revive, in a new form, the rituals of honouring the dead, in grandeur and graciousness. Moreover, “the Owl” and “the Scarecrow” remind us of some Egyptian rituals and magic words, such as “hocus pocus”, which have the power to drive evil spirits away.

Wechahi has gone beyond the sculptural theme that represents the school of modern personalization, which is vividly manifested in his grand structure “the First Step”. With the succession of generations, Wechahi has finally settled on abstract representation; where themes of womanhood and motherhood constantly recur in shapes abound in singularity and motion.

Romano Pieri

Cesena, Italy, December 1972.