Have the heirs to Egypt’s treasured past, widely considered the cradle of civilisation, also embraced the future?
If you’ve used the 2017 version of Adobe’s groundbreaking ‘Photoshop’ software, you may already know the answer. Honoured by being featured on its splash screen, Amr Elshamy’s image manipulation ‘Falling’ could then be discovered by the rest of the world. With this work, the self-taught artist instantly showed a flair for creating 3D illusionary depth within a 2D medium, using his digital toolset to reshape the laws of physics. That layered feeling of depth is an element that often resurfaces in his work, the floating labyrinthian circles of ‘the maze’ can also be prominently found in the image’s front, middle and back planes. It’s not surprising that the artist is also a filmmaker, where the eye routinely gets tricked into forgetting the limitations of a photographed image’s dimensions. Elshamy’s work also embraces the symbolic richness of his country’s influential past, as we can see on full display in the work ‘the Queen’. Centered on a golden, Nefertiti like figure, the artwork’s details merge Western gothic influences with golden Ankhs, linking the artistic pasts of the two neighboring continents. And while the mythology of Ra and Osiris have had an unmistakable impact on the artist, he also doesn’t let himself be defined by them. In ‘Rise – Experiment 18’ we are seemingly urged to worship a very different god, a herald of technology born from within a crucifixion of microchips and wires. This can perhaps be seen as a sign of the advent of a new step in humanity’s evolution that was so markedly shaped on the banks of the Nile ages ago. Here again we find that trademark mirage of depth within the imagery. I was delighted to discover Amr’s artistic narratives, pushing the boundaries of adobe’s trademark software and am above all curious to see what futures he will imagine in the years to come.