Dream of the city

Dr. Amal Nasr

 

The murals of Eid are an evident visual register for the multiplicity of cultures, which have been
received in Alexandria. That was a commutative cultural structure of multiple effluents. But
they are amalgamated in the unique Egyptian soul with its binding nature, without any traces
of discordance. All the murals of Eid reflect the city soul. A city that contains the other and welcome
him, when he conceives the importance of a mural painting, which is erected at the heart of the city,
and attracting thousands of its inhabitants, every day, to and fro. That is why it should not present
in a foreign spirit. The Artist went after his dream to come true, along his artistic endeavor…Art
should be a whole existence that surrounds us. He then broke through the realm of mural painting
with a daring spirit of adventure, and introduced a series of murals that were inspired through the
soul of the City.
In 1983, Abd-El-Salam Eid was standing among his students of mural painting Dep., to establish
the first mural painting on the railing of the faculty of fine arts; also it was the first applied project for
that Dep. Before that, mural painting was just a course of study of the Fresco upon small areas. The
work began too hard in developing that dep., introducing stained glass Technology, Mosaics, and
other techniques among syllabus. That was for the first time at all faculties of fine Arts in Egypt.
Mural of St. Giovanni Hotel
In 1992, The Artist introduced the first contemporary mural in Egypt. It was “The Sea mural” that
covered St. Giovanni hotel’s Façade at Stanly district on Alexandria shore. It has been executed in
ceramics, with an engraving technique in cement, in a total area of 100metersquare. In that artwork,
Eid exploited all the possibilities of contemporary in mural art, to be introduced as an integrated
self contained genre of Art, and not mere an embellishment for an architectural façade, From. He
then devoted his effort to elucidate the various aspects of the artwork, adapting his capabilities to
charge the work with cultural implications that enhance the recipient’s appreciation, when he or she
assimilates the Art’s vocabulary. It was unfamiliar plastic solutions before the non-proficient viewers,
but the Artist had achieved a difficult blend between abstract values of the painting, and the implicit
values that could be understood by the non-proficient. It could be said here that the Mural scene of
Eid’s creations would be received on a multiple reading Levels.
Mural of Faculty of Medicine
The mural of Faculty of Medicine, which followed that of St. Giovanni, then a number of successive
murals have been installed in Alexandria. That also motivated other cities, and thus the murals
began to circulate through Egyptian cities (Cairo, Alexandria, Marsa Matruh, el-Mansoura, and others).
Even the schools began to adorn its walls by murals, along with some state’s buildings, and
some private houses and mansions. The notion of the mural as a constituent of architecture within
the city began to acquire concerns with varying degree of awareness and artistic value. That surely
enhanced the necessity of city beautification projects.
Mural of Mustapha Kamel
I may stop here at an important and leading role in our creative artist’s endeavor. When he has mobilized
his dreams in the field of murals and was engaged through many challenges at the level of
the notion itself and also on the level of achievement.. It is the famous mural at Mustapha Kamel
district 1999-2000. It is extending (200 meters long) in a panoramic view facing the seashore. A familiar
site in Alexandria. Soon after its installation, it has become one of the most important city road
signs. Becoming a shrine, it is contributing with inhabitants their familial happy events, where they
are taking photos as a rite of their engagements, or wedding celebrations. A naïve and spontaneous
conducts that reflect an intimate communication of the ordinary man with art, when he find a mutual
language, and an echo of his feeling towards the spirit of his native city.
The work is an inclusive, mutinous, and panoramic. It is manifested as a dream, combining past,
present, and future. In a comprehensive, intensive, interlocked, and multi sources presentation that
comprises: The pyramid, the Roman coffin, Faraonic cartridge, Islamic ceramic chinaware, Alexander’s
statue Variety of relieved enigmatic ancient monuments, inscriptions along the ages and
capital of a copticorder a giant roman coins, in addition to replicas from the Greco-Roman museum

in Alexandria. There is an archeological feature, which attachés the virtual realm of that mural to

the historical world. Thus, it acquires a historical fragrance. It looks as if it is displaying an Epic
scene with multi centers that is manifested in several options; the artist has established them as
land marks for a multi sources Egypt-Alexandrian culture, which is extending in the roots of History.
The symbols of that unique culture have been homogenously manifested thanks to its unity. It was
cognitive mind, and a genuine organizational potential of Abd El Salam Eid.
The mural begins with the pyramid. The most significant shape that point to the ancient Egyptian
culture. It is an ancient cumulative and spontaneous pyramid. It is lined by hundreds of pieces,
which have been installed by tens of labors, who successively came to build and install in that
hierarchical and spontaneous way, as the Artist’s concept. Every participant has had contributed
with spontaneity, without any predetermination. Thereof the final construction gave the impression
of spontaneity and natural features, as if it is a slice of earth’s strata, which has been formed along
years. A dense accumulation of marble pieces, inlaid with mosaic, insertion of hieroglyphic letters,
lines, marks, colored glass fragments, are reminding us with the district “ koam El-Shokafa “( the
heap of pottery- an ancient quarter west of Alexandria, where remains of pottery, glasses, and ceramics,
were found).It is a non regular pyramid in a subtle geometry like the Gieza Pyramids, but it is
a virtual one. The artist wanted to appear as if everyone Egypt has put a stone and left. Every culture
had added a layer and left. It is a virtual pyramid having sufficient power to contain all the ages.
After that pyramid, the travel of the mural begins as a cultural fabric coming from past towards future,
from the roman tear bottles
Till the intricate arrays of science. The structure of the mural depends upon a flowing upright movement
in a longitudinal section perpendicular to the sea wave movement. These sections are stretching
along the mural, in an alternating balance between horizontal and vertical directions. Between
the horizontally extending waves, and the vertical veils, that is dropping down as old folds. Every
veil is carrying an aspect of a certain Egyptian culture: Islamic veil, ancient Egyptian veil, veil with
folkloric embellishments, a veil with mathematical symbols, a veil of diversified colored objects in
contemporary amorphous rhythms, a veil of electronic circuits, with a solid of a virtual shell in the
foreground, a fabric veil of an alternating rhythmic wavelike motion, and a veil in an African frond
fabric…and thus the images are successively displayed. In their variety, they form the real cultural
fabric of Alexandria, which has encompassed, within its dense threads, the ventures of all adventurers,
investors, Artists, fugitives from tyranny and despotism in their native land…It is Alexandria..
The city of the other..!!
The wave represents, as a plastic item, and as a meaning, the common factor between various parts
of the mural. Its significant role was to achieve an extended rhythm, as the main linking between the
mural images, which in turn are of different values and sources. There were colored waves of roman
tear bottles, an ancient Egyptian wave, emerged from the twisted effluence of the Nile, as we see
them in tombs, a microwave , a wave of supersonic rays, virtual waves in the realm of mathematics
and geometry, a soft white curved wave which extends along the mural, another fierce wave that
overturn the unshakable mountains. It is the wave that convey the philosophy of life between birth
and death…Thousands of these waves, are being witnessed by the coast of life… they begin and
soon vanish, for another one to come…it is the everlasting law of life.
The composition then moves through various travels to end with a group of terrestrial globes that
are representing the world as a snatched sphere among varied waves. The waves of historical
transformations, which mobilize all what is dwelled. The Artist symbolized that concept in a white
rectangle that has been tilted by the waves. These waves are subsided, to let an emergence of three
ships, which are laden with grains and roses, in a gesture for the eternal values: Right, Good, and
Beauty. They are coming within the frame of ancient Egypt civilization. Here, the Artist is lucidly assimilating
our culture; they are the Egyptian sun boats.
We come now to the essence of this enormous work, where the vision has been condensed and
ended. It is the conjunction point for the two wings of the mural, the right that begins with the globes,
and the left that begins with the great pyramid. This point is represented in an elliptical solemn
frame. It has been modeled in giant braided ropes, with an inclination to face the light, and receives
every new light. Horus wing is breaking in the frame at the top of the right side, about to be in touch
with oscillations, coming from a satellite that is plunging into the frame from the right side. We may
perceive its motion and flashes when it reminds us with the allegorical painting of the creation in
the artwork of Michelangelo at Cappella Sistina-Vatican. It is the moment of creative encounter
between past, present, and future. An elliptical womb- dividing the mural. Has had contained this
moment in a symbolic condensation. Inside this womb, many variables and mutations are boiling
over, still at the phase of formation and growth…the results still unknown, and the exact date of its
birth is not determined.
At the core of this figure, there are flashes of light, which are scattering, at a moment it is undefined,
as if it is carrying the mystery of to-morrow. Nobody knows what it would be. From the right side
enters a pyramid figure, and from beneath, a truncated prismatic figure. Both of them are heading
for the shining focus, which is carrying the prophecy of future. At the background we notice multicolor
horizons in linear horizontal lines and with different orientations… A symbol of the multiple
horizons, the world is witnessing now. At the bottom, strata of earth are accumulating. They suggest
the weight of Earth, and the depositions of the past, upon which the darting to future would ground
upon, with all its ventures, and perhaps its rashness. It is the free associations from the past, or a
history music, reiterated by the Artist through this mural. As if we are exploring the time machine to
bring us back to the apparitions of various civilizations that have gone. However, it is banging vigorously
against our present time, putting us in the heart of the future.
Mural of the general company for communication
Executed in 2007on a n area of 800 meters, in the company premises at the SMART VILLAGE, it is
a crowning the achievements of Abd El-Salam Eid in the field of mural painting. He packed his long
experience in that domain. The sort of experience of he, who had strived and not an experience of
he, who had only remotely contemplated. Eid had dealt with this mural like the ancient Egyptian
artist, when he dealt with the walls of his temples, and the tombs of his kings, which he considered
houses in the afterworld. He resolves its space with image, continuing with the alluvium curves of
its walls, transforming his beliefs into images, symbols, and colors.
This time, Eid is not dealing with the mural work as a mere part taking hold of an architectural flat,
through an identified area, but he had dealt with all the interior surfaces. He visually resolves an inverted
pyramid in a plastic concept. The structure as a whole has been analyzed, aesthetically and
visually the smart solution was based on ascending historical strata that begin at the ground floor,
and end at the top. These vast empty spaces allowed having an area, where he can freely represent
his concept in a wide scope. But in the same time, it has engaged him in several challenges, concerning
the peculiar nature of the building, and the critical calculations through which, his creations
would be manifested. How could he pump that liberty in an organized channel of labor, and precise
maps without any random illusions…?..It is the capacity of the muralist, who should pay respect to
the presence and sublimity of architecture.
Like the ancient Egyptian Artist, who had maintained the pictorial events in sequential registers, the
older event begins at the mural bottom, the nearer above it, and thus the others in at successive
levels, known in ancient Egyptian art by registers or archives, thus Eid had expressed the notion
of communications, through his treatment of the interior architecture of the building as a whole. It
consists of five floors. Depending on registers, the Artist has cited the history of communications
in a chronological order, since old times until now. He starts with the ground floor, which comes in
a cool tone with decorative non-regular and varied rhythms, using mosaic in a warm alluvium that
have been permeated with colored rows and some hieroglyphic inscriptions and thus forming a
tranquil background of important models. The artist had given them basic roles, putting them in
definite niches to assert the Museum exposition style. He puts a group of old telephones in square
apertures within the inclined flat surface of building among these old telephones there was what
was known as Al Massarah, it is the telegraphic telephone that was in use at the early stages of
telephone evolution.
In a critical corner of the mural, telephone post is installed in a prominent position. That one has
been picked from remiss, after it became obsolete. The Artist restored it and reinstalled as a symbol
of communications history. Mirrors behind as a background reflected the figure in a repetitive
manner. That enhanced its perspective. Transferring to the memory to its primary state as we were
seeing it during our long travels.

On the other side, another object is emerging from the heart of Egyptian mythology. It is the head of

the jackal, God of mummification in ancient Egyptian beliefs. The presence of the jackal may represent
a shock to the viewer for the first glance , as it casts a metaphysical implications, but soon he
would realize a certain interesting harmony between the mass of Anubis’s head and the telephone,
particularly between the telephone receiver and Anubis’s ears, That have long listened to the secrets
of the inhabitants of western land ( the valley of kings). Anubis is relied on a mimic figure with
its flax folds. At the background, there are fragments of telephone post that give an impression of
certain rhythm, and attach that rectangle with the corner of the aerial post.
On another wall, the Artist introduces a group of virtual pharaoh capitals (with parts of columns) but
the electrical coil replaces the lotus flower in an exquisite design. The Artist puts that object in a
historical and archeological context with regard to its importance in embodiment of the communication
concept, whereas the electric vibrations are being transformed through it (the electric coil) into
magnetic vibrations and then to acoustical waves. The columns are exposed in museum way with
intermediate batch of cables arranged in a frame. The Artist has split some of these cables. Wires
of symbolizes the concept of listening various mural’s registers.
A wide slice in different colors finalizes that first register. These colors have been taken from the
palette of ancient Egyptian Artist. They remind us with the colors of Tut Ankh Amun mask, also with
gems of ancient Egyptian jewels. The Artist puts them in an abstract space with a tonal rhythm, that
impart to it more vitality, forming an appropriate move towards the upper register, where old telephones
are lined in square niches on a tranquil background that ends with a belt of ornaments, the
artist has inspired from electric circuits.
The Artwork moves to one of its important centers, it looks like a relief of different telephones and
computers keyboards in various fashions. They are all united by painting most of them with one
color, and letting behind, their bulks on a background of modeled cross lines. At the front of the
left side of that relief, a bulky solid human ear that embodies the idea of listening underlying the
concept of communication with a part from a head cover’s back of an ancient Egyptian statue. That
sculptural part, which has adopted a linear rhythm, found a response with keyboards lines, and the
telephones details. Here Eid insists that all objects are considered usable as items in the artwork.
He thus displays that the Artist’s soul is capable of seeing – in the usual objects, a sort of beauty
that seduces us to look at otherwise.
Above the relief, we find a new register of attached Islamic ornaments in similar color with the
sculpted part. But the Artist is engaging them on a new background of different color tones to clear
the way for the upper part, representing an intermediate area between what is above and what is
beneath. The mural colors move in a delicate sensitivity between the earth color and that of the sky,
with a gradual change from warm greens and alluvium browns to the ethereal blues. Thus, the mural
is being opened, in its uppermost part, upon a sense of a heavenly cosmic aerial view, as if that
part is representing the sky of the mural, where the launching of communications is being fulfilled to
the extreme. There are also parts of transparent glass at the top that transmit the moving sky light.
They draw, across the walls of the mural, Reiterations of silhouettes of mural forms. That glass casts
vitality upon them and asserts their points of glitter.
At that sky part, there is a group of virtual communication towers, interposing the blue color. The
Artist expressed the concept of sound transmission across the internet with formal electronic formations,
in subdued colors, expressing that technological gust(boom) in communication’s domain.
In the end, the history of man-made tools is about to be itself the history of civilization. Every invented
tool seemed as if it was an extension for his senses, and an overtaking of his limited human
capabilities. That was the entrance of Abd El-Salam Eid to the concept of communication. He has
taken that mural as an opened museum, through which he launched the idea of communication,
which started from the outset of history itself. It was that eager and continuous desire for remote
communication. He used mirrors, smoke, drums, carrier pigeons, and signals. The mural of the
Egyptian company for communication a vast arena for Eid to launch his creative potential, to realize
his old dream… “Mural Art should be a whole life that embraces us in a virtual environment of the
Artwork theme, through which the Artist can conjure the horizons of an idea, from its oldest visualization,
and in its most primitive and naïve form, until its most up to date and most complicated
fashion: the notion of communication.”

 

Dr. Amal Nasr