Increase in raw material prices harms artists 

Basma Ragab
4 Min Read

The increase of raw material prices has impacted artists, as some have resorted to using low-quality materials to ration costs, which made an impact on the quality of paintings.

Ali Fawzy, a critic and visual artist, said that the materials and colours used in paintings have become costly after their prices tripled this year, which greatly impacted the quality of final products and reduced the number of artists in the field.

He explained that the visual culture of Egyptian citizens has decreased and artistic taste has significantly declined as well, making galleries and workshops practically reserved for artists themselves without significant attendance from the public.

He went on to explain that evaluating and pricing a painting has a lot to do with the effort exerted on it and the kinds of materials used, as well as the quality of the colours in the work of art.

He added that the prices of materials amount to EGP 350 for a box of acrylic paint and EGP 3,000 for pastel colours, in addition to costly prices of other tools.

Prices of some artists’ paintings are estimated to range from EGP 50,000 to EGP 8,000. The prices sometimes reach EGP 180,000 for major artists.

An art workshop was held to paint outdoor scenes at the Yacht Club last weekend, under the supervision of artist Khaled El-Samahy. The workshop was attended by nearly 50 major visual artists, in addition to several ambassadors, the deans of the Faculty of Art Education and Fine Arts at Cairo University.

El-Samahy, who is a member of the Syndicate of Fine Arts, said that there are continuous efforts to hold artistic workshops at Hall 35 at Mahmoud Khalil Museum, in addition to holding some workshops at other venues.

He explained that he is against the idea of holding an event to raise material returns, given that the possibilities and circumstances are unsuitable, especially that these workshops are mainly held with the sole aim of supporting visual art.

Ehab El-Assiuty, professor of sculpture at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Cairo University, said that art can provide its maker with financial gains if the artist becomes famous in their field or knows exactly what the market requires or the prevalent taste.

He added that the price of an artist’s painting, especially older works, is estimated at EGP 250,000, while the price of the works of the younger generations of artists may range between EGP 25,000 and EGP 80,000.

He pointed out that the Ministry of Culture does not provide sufficient support to artists or hold events for that purpose. It sees the aforementioned workshops as an outlet for artists and a way to spread artistic awareness.

Visual artist Abdelaziz El-Tamimy said that the aim of organising art workshops is to exchange artistic experiences between younger and older artists.

Rosaline Rizk, a member of visual arts sector at the Ministry of Culture and the head of cultural activities, said that the sector has launched a plan that includes holding workshops on a monthly basis and hosting major artists as well as young artists to deliver seminars with the aim of enhancing and supporting artistic talents.

The upcoming plan includes holding an exhibition following each workshop, with free entry, in order to encourage artists and people to attend them, which would eventually revive diverse visual arts in Egypt.

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