Ahmed Morsi

An artist, poet, and critic, Ahmed Morsi traverses creative disciplines, and works in both visual and textual mediums. Born in Alexandria in 1930, he briefly attended the Italian-run Bicchi Studio, where he engaged in studies of the human form. However, following this introductory formal training, Morsi was largely self-taught. While pursuing an interest in the visual arts, he also actively engaged with Egypt’s literary circles, and in 1949, at the age of 19 published his first collection of poems titled Songs of the Temples/Steps in Darkness. His interest in writing and composition led to an enrolment in the Faculty of Arts of the University of Alexandria, to pursue a degree in English Literature. Shortly after his graduation, Morsi relocated to Baghdad for two years (1955-57), where he forged friendships and working relationships with a number of Iraqi writers and painters, including Abdel Wahab Al-Bayati, Fuad Al-Takarli and Ardash Kakavian. It was also in Baghdad that Morsi first tried his hand at art criticism, having been invited to review major exhibitions for local papers. Back in Egypt, he became the first Egyptian to work alongside acclaimed playwrights Alfred Farag and Abdel Rahman Al-Sharkawi, designing stage sets and costumes for The National Theater. He also partnered with Abdel Hadi El-Gazzar to co-design stage sets for a play Bury the Dead by American playwright Irwin Shaw at the Cairo Opera House. In 1974, Morsi moved to New York City, where he continues to paint, write, and engage with art criticism. In New York, Morsi has also taken up printmaking and photography.