Abdel Hadi El Gazzar

Abdul Hadi El Gazzar’s detailed paintings and drawings are considered some of the most significant emblems of Egypt’s modernist movement. Having studied in Cairo and Rome, Gazzar was among the third generation of artists who joined Hussein Youssef Amin’s Group of Contemporary Art, which rejected Western academic approaches to art making. His practice passed through distinct stages, starting with an early interest in the metaphysical, incorporating religious symbolism, folklore and scenes from moulid (birth) festivals in Cairo’s Sayyida Zeinab district. In the years leading up to the 1952 Free Officer’s Revolution, and during the Nasser regime, Gazzar produced some of his most famous paintings. His focus shifted to depicting the stark poverty of Cairo’s working class, which led to his arrest under King Farouk’s regime. Gazzar later focused on technological advances and nationalism. He held his first solo show at Cairo’s Museum of Modern Art in 1950, the year he graduated from Cairo’s School of Fine Arts.