By Nayera El-Zeky
When we first walked into Amy Abd El Baky’s Jar of Clay gallery, we started looking at her tremendously capturing paintings, observing her work and being able to emotionally relate to almost every exhibited painting. We went over to Amy to discuss the inspiration behind her paintings, her life, career and concerns about the art scene in Egypt.
1. What is the story behind the pieces in the galley? They look emotionally dense.
Jars of Clay basically mean that we as humans are created from mud and will end up back in mud, but we all have hidden treasures inside us. Through life, we toss and turn which causes us to crack and reveal the treasure. In the paintings, I depict how the revelation of the treasure happens, and how that gives the soul a purpose and a journey to embark on.
2. What does your painting, the pinnacle, represent?
This is actually a very spiritual scene. This is a modern impression of Jesus Christ’s Crucification, you never really see any modern interpretations of it because it’s all very classical, but this is a more conceptual visualization of the scene, with him lying down, his mission accomplished.
3. I see you also have paintings of women who look like they’re in agony.
Those women represent how women were born to be free, unashamed and unconstrained, but because of the difficulties and judgments in life, they become confused and helpless. Here they are trying to cover up parts of their body with pieces of cloth, desperately looking up for answers from a more divine power.
4. So your paintings are in sort of a closed cycle where people go through?
No, it depends on how you see it. I never limit the options to closed and opened cycles. The possibilities are always infinite.
We’re in a region where it’s just so unstable and we have so much to offer and express through art.
5. Do you have a different full time job?
No I don’t, this is my full time job.
6. In Egypt, does an artist make a good living?
Well it depends, but the thing is I’m not in it for the living, I’m doing it as a hobby that I’ve always been able to relate to. I just feel like I’ve been endowed with a talent that’s not mine to keep, the talent was given to me to reflect onto the world because it’s going to be a catalyst or a helping hand to someone else who is looking for it.
7. What do you think of the Art Scene in Egypt?
I absolutely love the artists here in Egypt, I think we have so much taste and depth and content because we’re in a region where it’s just so unstable and we have so much to offer and express through art.
8. What do you dislike about it?
I completely disagree with the whole ideology of how they teach art in Schools and Universities in Egypt. I feel like they’re really restricting the students’ creativity and directing it solely towards academics.
9. Do any of your children take after you, in regards to your artistic talents?
Yes, both my 5 and 8 year old boys have the hobby and the talent. The younger one is always asking questions and exploring different possibilities of using different media.
10. Name three artists you would like to be compared to?
I love Omar El Nagdi, he’s unbelievable, Ibrahim El Tambouly and Gazabeya Serry: she’s Amazing, I see her paintings and I just dwell in them.