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Carbon 12

Private Gallery
Hazem Mahdy in The National "Old Images, New World" by Chris Lord
  Article and interview By Chris Lord

Hazem Mahdy’s work has long tussled with the inner conflict of being an Egyptian who has never lived in Egypt. “There was an identity crisis in my earlier work,” says the artist, who was born and raised in the UAE. “In one series of photographs, for instance, I projected recognisably Egyptian patterns z my own body – questioning who I am in relation to Egypt, a country that I don’t feel I fit into.”

Mahdi’s first solo show, One, Wahed, Yi, Eins, Alpha, which opens tonight at the Dubai gallery Carbon 12, demonstrates a clear evolution in his thinking. He has photographed and digitally mirrored hundreds of his own arms, interlocking them into a fleshy kaleidoscope. The final works bear echoes of Islamic art motifs and shapes found in nature, and Mahdy is now concerned with expressing a spiritual oneness and interconnectedness rather than anxiety.

He explains that this new direction emerged from a deeply introspective period. This may not have put those earlier concerns to bed, but it has given them the wider perspective they needed.

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