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Tache Art hosts "CMYK", its first solo exhibition with Sudanese-born artist Mutaz El Emam
Mutaz El Emam was born and raised in Kassala in the Eastern region of Sudan until he went to Khartoum to study Fine Arts at the Sudan University of Science and Technology.

By: Maie Yanni

CAIRO.- In an exciting new initiative, Tache Art has organized for the exhibition to open as a five-day pop-up at Left Bank Bistro in Zamalek on 24th February 2013 before moving to Tache Art gallery in Designopolis until its conclusion on the 17th March 2013.

The show entitled “CMYK” brings together El Emam’s latest and freshest body of work; the creative output of the last twelve months.

In printing processes CMYK is the subtractive colour model used in colour printing whereby Cyan, Magenta and Yellow are the primaries. K stands for “Key” and is obtained by intermixing the primaries, which yields a muddy black. However, the addition of black also increases the tonal possibilities.

Here, El Emam uses this model allegorically in his quest to invite the viewer to re-examine a painting from first principles.

For as long as he can remember, his vision has remained clear and unwavering regardless of subject matter, medium or location.

“At the age of thirteen I knew in my heart without being able to explain or rationalize that I wanted to be a painter, regardless of what lay ahead of me I was prepared there and then to make all sacrifices just to follow that exhilarating feeling”.

His prime concern as an artist and responsibility towards the onlooker is the essence of what a painting really is; what you feel is what you see.

By stripping the work of all preconceptions, fancy jargon and complex rhetoric he invites the viewer by giving him the “key” to interact freely, and without intimidation, with the canvas at hand and asks him to draw his/her conclusions with the same weight of responsibility that he has infused into making the work.

Evident in El Emam’s work is the continual interweaving of depth and research in both the intellectual and the process of crafting the artwork. And like a good craftsman, he prepares his tools, his mediums and his substrates very carefully. Then comes the lengthy process of working and reworking the canvas; he questions himself and his work continuously in a deliberately analytical drawn out thought process.

Colours are very important to El Emam, he has turned them into a language of his own and he uses them to tell you what he thinks and how he feels, yet, unobtrusively gives you all the space and freedom to draw out your own conclusions.

Some years ago at the height of the economic boom , when auction houses were raking in phenomenal profits and artists were parading like prima donnas and rock stars , I asked Mutaz what he thought was the biggest challenge to an artist . Without missing a heartbeat and in one long breath he answered: “The most daunting thing a painter has to face is the blank canvas!

It is your master and your tamer, your mentor and your coach, your battleground and your storm, it can equally whip you into shape and callously break you, it will challenge your skills and sharpen your mind and yet, in spite of it being your experimental laboratory it is also your meditative ground, it is your focus and your magnet, it is your compass in a storm and it is also the field where you will sow the seeds of new ideas and the springboard of your imagination.

So the artist must be meek and he must approach the canvas with utmost respect and mindfulness; the onus is on him to deliver the unbridled and unaffected truth.”

I first met Mutaz about a decade ago and his vision has not wavered once from that statement.

He has had numerous collective and solo exhibitions, two of which I have had the immense pleasure of curating ; to date this body of work entitled “CMYK” is the one that distills and crystallizes what he really believes in- Cyan , Magenta ,Yellow and Key.
In it he addresses the most pertinent and pressing question and asks both the artist and the public to reconsider: what is art really all about ? And like the primary subtractive colours this too is about going back to first principles ;it is about the responsibility bestowed on the artist to communicate truthfully through his work , and that expected from the spectator to assimilate it without prejudice , it is about building bridges of tolerance and understanding, it is about listening and dialogue.

“As an artist I am no more than a tool to communicate this message , by preparing the “terrain” , by focusing and centering my thoughts I can then execute the work to the best of my mental and physical abilities and once the work is done the next stage starts and that is how the onlooker receives and interprets it”.

Mutaz El Emam
Mutaz El Emam was born and raised in Kassala in the Eastern region of Sudan until he went to Khartoum to study Fine Arts at the Sudan University of Science and Technology. It took him three long months to finally convince his academically minded parents that in spite of his high grades at school, what he really wanted to study above all else was Art.

Between 2003 and 2007 he worked in Art Therapy at the Grace Child Care Organization in Khartoum, an establishment that lodges and teaches young survivors of wars and adverse social circumstances until they reach the age of adolescence.

His artistic practice encompasses painting, drawing, mixed media and collage.

He has participated in numerous solo and collective exhibitions regionally and internationally the most recent of which were Collage: 100 Years on at The Gallery, Cairo in 2011 , the 5th Beijing Biennale in September 2012 and Art…Freedom at the Zamalek Art Gallery in January 2013.

He was the editor of the Africa Art file for the “Not Apartheid Art” Cam Casoria art magazine.

His work has been showcased locally and internationally.

He lives and works between Egypt and Sudan.

The Curator
Maie Yanni is an independent Art Curator, Artist and Art Collector.

She is a graduate of The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and specialized in Anaesthesia, Intensive Care and High-risk Obstetric Anaesthesia.

In the Year 2000 she took a sabbatical from medical practice and has since been managing art ventures on a project-management basis.

She has a special interest in Collage, Origami & Kirigami, African Art particularly Sudanese Art, Artists Books and Journals, Mail Art, Urban Sketchers , Art Brut & Outsider Artists .
She is also a multidisciplinary artist and her work straddles fine arts, fiber arts and jewellery-making.

She is currently based in Cairo, Egypt.

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February 24, 2013

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PinchukArtCentre presents "Forest Means Cheaper", a solo show by Alexey Salmanov

Tache Art hosts "CMYK", its first solo exhibition with Sudanese-born artist Mutaz El Emam

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