Iman Issa, born in 1979 in Cairo, is an artist based in Cairo and New York and fortunately is still alive. Her works look at the power of display in relation to academic and cultural institutions. Issa has received a HNB-MACBA award and she as well has solo and group exhibitions. In the late 1990s, Issa was studying philosophy and political science at the American University in Cairo AUC when the school decided to create a proper art department where none had existed before. Her multimedia works explore the relationship between history, memory, language, and objects. Iman Issa expresses her love through art, and her work has been shown and observed in many various places such as museums and exhibitions. Issa displays her art to observe her relations with the others she loves. Once Brain Boucher asked: “How did this series on monuments and memorials come about?” Issa said: “I start from questions like, “How can you adequately represent places, figures, events that you have a personal relationship to, in a way that conveys something specific?” I look at memorials and monuments, asking whether they could capture something specific or adequate.”

The piece was made with Issa’s devotion to art and appreciation to decorations. Most of her work is built or taken picture of or put in a display case; she has a very few paintings, one popular one being called Common Elements. She doesn’t mention with which kinds of paintings are painted in Common Elements however. Iman Issa only says in her website that Common Elements consist of 54 framed text panels, 14 framed c-prints, five wooden sculptures, five painted white plinths, sources’ panel/caption Installation in 2013. It also appears that there is no contour lines in her painting. The artist creates depth and 3D by correct shading which makes her painting look so life like. The focal point stretches from right to left as right represent the lightest rays and the left represents the darkest shadows. The texture of the painting is very sharp and excellent perspective and eye coordination. Details of the sculpture in the painting lead the eye around the piece. The piece is static and there is no sort of any kind of movement.

The message the painting conveys is to grow and be wise, and the texture also represents all the beautiful and special characteristics in yourself, thus you as a human being make the sculpture pretty. The mood of the piece is one that reminisces the past, where it gives the beauty of the old designs is evident and it also shows various of different kinds of holes in the background. This may convey that the problems in the past should stay in the past and shouldn’t affect you. On the contrary, you learn from your mistakes which is what makes you extraordinary. From this piece, you can relate that in the future you yourself are a better person and a better you. Also the meeting between the beautiful sculpture and wall together makes a design that is memorable to the eyes, and the setting as well helps bring all these messages to reality.

The artwork seems to be successful; it looks amazing and extremely realistic. The art makes me feel astonished in regards to how the wall and the sculpture are overlapping together. I also love the use of black and white colors, and I think the painting seems to be pastel. It makes me think of the past times in Egypt when it was one of the best countries in world and where we had the best traditional music of Fayrouz, Om Khalthoum and Omar Khairat.


By Nada Ali