Human’s Portrait As a pathway to the soul

Dr. Amal Nasr


Man’s face is a front of the human soul … .through which, he receives the world, and
send human communication’s signals. Abd El -Salam Eid processes a sympathetic and
cheerful human nature enables him to easily establish a sort of spiritual relation between
him and the others. He can receive many of their inner signs, to reveal part of their irresolution…that
human puzzle which is being shared among humankind…! The Artist, with his sensitiveness, can
capture and evaluate. Such irresolution is often used as a prime mover for every creation, a trial for
achieving more fair forms, and better understanding for a confounded reality we are all living with.
Therefore, Portraiture to Eid is one of his cities. There, he occasionally returns to feel the pleasure of
coming closer with the other, and establishing debate with him.
Since his beginnings, Eid has studied many models with remarkable dexterity. In parallel, he used to
portray his colleagues and professors, where he picked passages to their souls, gates to penetrate
in their inner undergoing and real personalities. Once the model silently sits before the Artist, he
soon discovers a plentiful sorrow that reflects his inner suffering. Moments of silence and contemplations
are always coupled with noble sorrows, picked by the-Artist’s soul, to be his entrance to his
creative painting of a personality.
Eid conceives his painted faces through several artistic tendencies. He may invoke the nature of
each one of them. Some were looking in an expressive nature. The Artist may go beyond usual proportions
for the sake of emphasizing a robust drama that has been imposed by a strong personality,
such as the portraits of his friend Amien Hozain, the painter and poet Abd El Moniem Metaweh,
and the painter Tharwat EI Bahr. All these portraits remind us of the expressive faces of Ego Schille.
In other works he invokes the boldness and intensity of the Fauves, but in a deliberate structural
analysis. He enjoys transferring the face into turnout of juxtaposed color spots, as his portrait of his
professor Hamed Eweiss, and his friend the Artist Essmat Dawestashy. But soon his performance
accent is calmed down when he paint, in a profound delicacy, his wife Mme Nahed El-Garem. In a
luminous picture, the woman has been seen in transparent veils (delicate layers of charcoal). The
work depicts an aura of tranquility and peace of mind, with which the wife embraced him along their
mutual voyage.
Abd El-Salam Eid summons for every personality its peculiar style of painting. Some would have
an accelerating, intermittent, and spiky line, which carries the nervousness of that personality and
tensions. Others would possess a continuous, smoothly flowing line, sweeping in its way anything
that hinders the painted figure’s purity of the soul. Sometimes, the line seems dashing in continuous
motion, as if trying to race with that reflected energy of the painted face. Now and then, we
assume that the Artist did not raise his hand off the paper…! There was no hesitation, no room for
waiting that could derive to lassitude in that inner charge, by which the Artist is facing his model. In
a capacity, with the simplest tool of drawing, the line, which possesses the most eloquent means of
abstraction, .and only the line, the Artist gives that peculiar humanistic signal that has been emitted
out of that painted personality.

Sometimes, we notice that Eid is depending upon a technology of obliteration, through which he

abstracts many details, and thus enables the most prominent aspects of his subject. A genuine
example is his masterpiece, the portrait of his professor, the Artist Seif Wanely (charcoal). He maintained
some fine transparent layers of charcoal upon which he built broad strokes, and then his lines
are introduced to offer their peculiar tones as moving chord. Occasionally, he used his obliteration
technique, to grant some mystery to the work, there were suggestions, deliberately unfinished, in
order that imagination would be set free before the work. Eid is respecting the value of suggestion,
and paving the way for free associations. He may suggest some blend between: the mighty
performance of charcoal, through bold, broad, rough touches and transparent subdued layers, and
a slender line that makes the contour of the face, He may leave traces of touches of baffled lines,
which he passed through them during his voyage to reveal the concealed features of the personality,
beginning from the white plane, and until the matured portrait. For another subject, he may use vari-
ous neutral tents in a subdued accent, then he distribute group of black foci (black spots) or slight
touches, thus, converting that face by blowing vitality into focal points.
These are various entries, suggested by every individual face, according to the concept of the Artist,
and how he receive that peculiar human issue- his friend’s face. Eid has been dexterous, when
he exploits the potentials of charcoal. He was valiant enough in his researches to attain with those
material far horizons. In addition, there, charcoal became so ductile, and through which he imparted
the finest and most complex sensations, the most dramatic lights, or the slightest faintness.
Eid speaks about his experience in portraiture: my artistic endeavor does not separate itself from
the ordeal of human existence, and thus, there was some sort of framing for the role of man’s role
in such experience. The human practice, together with man’s personality, with all its suffering, the
tragedy of existence, and his various vain attempts to interpret puzzles of life, are always enfolding
me. Even now of man’s triumph, his aspiration to surpass himself. Aim always worried by these eternal
perplexity and obscure mess of certain issues that have occupied me since my childhood and
until now. I think and contemplate life and time. All expressions upon the faces around me are capturing
my attention. Reflections of various perplexing emotion on faces are catching my eyes, then I
dart to paint that face or the other. In many works, I may reflect the features of a personality, while it
is absorbed in its far realm, then I feel its inner hard suffering. My colleagues caught my sight, with
their bafflement as they were looking for mysterious paths; also the agitation and worries upon the
faces of my colleagues during the military service, before the War, had drawn my attention, where
they were living under a psychological stress, while waiting for battle. A concealed grief upon the
face of an Italian woman, who has lost her husband, terrified me. That was during my scholarship in
Rome.. Many other faces have captured the sense of human ordeal within me.
Such expressions, which manifest themselves in their loftiest forms, through the human face, evoke
m the self-profound jrnemories. Though we are different, we are sharing the grief sufferings that
every one of us has passed by, according his experience. No doubt that the painter, as an artist, is
not in search for a mere superficial; beautiful face, which has not bear any life experience, or a face
without history, which does not deserve attention. The Artist is primarily looking for the drama of
the face, and its expressive granting, a face, which has been toughed with life, with its heaviness;
puzzling mystery; and unquenched endless questions… a real face that has experienced life with

all its splendors and suffering. It is that sort of experience which re- carves faces, giving them that

ethereal character, which in turn incites the artist to paint. Behind all life’s aspects upon all its levels,
there is something hidden, that in common for all humankind. No doubt, that of negligence the
outer life around us, from which the artist receives his impressions, breaks an important tributary for
creation. Abd El-Salam Eid cannot be counted among those who has forsaken life around them, or
did not paid attention to its important messages.
If Art, as Roger Fray claims, is capable of stimulating that fund of left impressions upon the soul, due
to various emotions of life, then the human face is the most perfect seat that embraces the echo
of these emotions. It is the domain, in which the human emotion, in general, manifest itself general,
which promptly snatch us towards an affluent of a unified human sensation, and a delight in art,
which does not fall under plastic relationships, but it is drawn,, toward a deep layer of all types of
sentimental life. That what the art of portraiture presents, in a more intimate manner, otherwise the
history of art would not exude fragrance of the miserable blue women of Picasso, and his weeping
woman, the pale figures of Egon shielle, the lasses of Modegliani, and the tragic faces of Frieda
Kalhoe. If Eid has possessed the talent of going through the soul of his models, he has also acquired
performing potency in drawing, which represents the second wing that enabled him to soar in spontaneity,
with his thoughts. His understanding of material’s nature, his respect of its canon, its interaction
with his imagery, and the blend of his inner creative sense with its structural law, has driven
the material to give him generously. He has been dissolved in its lower depths, drawing from its
soul; meanwhile it is also receiving from his soul. Thus, they have created together a state of artistic
accord. Thence, we notice that various procedures which have been used by Eid are not bound
only by a certain formal technique; on the contrary they clearly reveal the relationship between the
enjoyment of a successful technical execution, and the search for inner rhythms of material which
achieve the unity of Artwork.
Abd El-Salam Eid has offered various concepts for the spiritual presence of the humankind before
an Artist who possess a considerable charisma, that means in its simplest significances: a capacity
for sympathy with the others, and of actively impressing them



Dr. Amal Nasr