Abdel Fattah Shamloul’s first exhibition experiments with ceramic sculpting to create beautiful “fruits of fire”, striking pots of different sizes and shapes, with a vivid red dominating the colour scheme. But the fruits of fire are also the fruits of his struggle; three years ago, Shamloul was a taxi driver from Sohag with a burning desire to be a ceramic sculptor and this exhibition is the realisation of his dream.
Shamloul did not study art at a university level, but followed his own path outside of formal education and pursued his own curriculum to suit his needs. Still, academia has not held back in its praise; he has been lauded by two former heads of departments at the college for applied arts, who are also ceramic sculptors, as well as by the late ceramic sculptor Nabil Darwish’s own wife.
Nabil Darwish’s wife said the artist’s original work and love for ceramics was enough to think he had been Darwish’s contemporary and student while others praised his ambition and determination and his “unique spirit”.
Ceramics professor at the College of Applied Arts, Dr Kadry Nakhla, said: “His designs surprised me in their similarity of aesthetic expression to the distinctive domes of Islamic architecture,” and credited him for “reviving the collective artistic memory of the old capital, Fustat”.
Shamloul is inspired by the late Nabil Darwish, who believed that a ceramicist must be a painter, a photographer and a sculptor before venturing into practical approaches and making his own ceramic sculptures.
His sculptures are visually audacious in their use of colour, often using different shades of red. Additionally he designed some beautiful work using a distinctive pale shade of green and finally a more sober ash-grey.
The sculptures vie for your attention everywhere you look. Some look like pomegranates on fire, while others contain a majestic subtlety. The exquisite designs are no accident; they are a consequence of Shamloul’s own experiments with form until he finally settled on designing pots, a choice that has proven rewarding with his this exhibition.
The opening of Fruits of Fire was held at the Ahmed Shawky Museum on Nil Street on 13 March and was attended by the Head of Fine Arts Sector Dr Salah El Meligy. The exhibition will run until 27 March and we highly recommend visiting the exhibition to witness an incredible journey towards artistic maturity which is represented in these beautiful pots that reflect the birth of a new and noteworthy artist.