Sculptures in space

Daily News Egypt
4 Min Read

When she moved to Cairo with her family in 1989, the plan was to stay for three years. Eighteen years later Maja Soric is still here. While life does not always go according to plan, things can work out for the best and this artist’s journey proves just that.

“In one moment I was doubtful about what I could achieve as an artist, Soric told Daily News Egypt.

Croatian-born Soric graduated in 1978 with a political science degree from the University of Zagreb, in then Yugoslavia. She’s worked with NGOs and as a journalist for a women’s lib magazine. Her work took her around the world before she became a self-employed, “one-woman show in Cairo, as she aptly describes it.

Before Egypt, however, her art was always something on the side, a hobby that fed occasional exhibits.

Upon arriving at Soric’s flat in Zamalek for an interview, she immediately notes, “You’re very punctual! Where are you from? She tells Daily News Egypt that even after being in Cairo for so long, she cannot shake her European obsession with being on time.

Almost subconsciously justifying her previous disclosure, she later reveals the secret to her success as an artist: “It takes discipline!

Soric is humble about her talents, but her complete oeuvre speaks for itself in both quantity and quality.

I went to her home to discuss her jewelry show, but it is impossible not to admire her paintings and it’s hard to imagine she ever had time for anything else.

Her bold colors and whimsical strokes sometimes outshine the work of other professional artists adorning the walls alongside her own pieces. She proudly tells me the names of each artist displayed – one from Macedonia and another from Slovenia – skimming over her own paintings.

Soric’s collection is unconventional and technically impressive. So many paintings using different approaches, yet all share a common theme, namely the vibrancy of the colors used.

It was then to refocus on the initial goal: her jewelry.

Like her paintings, Soric’s jewelry is strong and playful. She uses uncut, natural stones, beads and silver elements she’s found throughout her travels. Each skillfully handmade piece is unique.

She had a hard time finding jewelry she liked when she first came to Egypt, but noticed that jewelry is very much a part of Arab heritage. So she started to make her own, and quickly mastered the art of jewelry making, finding inspiration in every corner of Cairo.

Many of her necklaces are asymmetrical and a critique of her paintings once described her work as “looking for balance. Soric laughs at this, and quipped “Actually I am completely unbalanced and I try to break the balance so [the work] stands on its own legs.

Her jewelry is structured, controlled even in its craziness. The use of gold leaves, bright colors, and “imbalanced shapes, the collection reflects the style she uses in her paintings. While many of Maja Soric’s necklaces and earrings are busy enough to dress up a plain outfit, others are simple in an eccentric way.

They are all, as the astute artist describes, “Sculptures in space.

Maja Soric’s jewelrywill be on display until Dec. 19 at the Nagada Villa, 13 Refa’a Street, Dokki. For more information, visit www.majasoric.coms

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