The later paintings of Hamed Nada are filled with anecdotal details. Rich in nuances of mystery and magic, together they evoke a sense of folklore, woven from a tapestry of Arabian Nights, pharaonic mythology and popular legends.
The son of a religious sheikh, Hamed Nada was brought up in an old Arabic house in the poor traditional neighbourhood of El-Khalifa near the Syeda Skina Mosque in Cairo. The young Nada experienced all the life and vibrancy of the old city, rich in medieval Mamluk buildings and gracious Ottoman-era monuments. The seething street markets and succession Mawlid festivals celebrating Muslim saints in this architecturally stunning setting were to have a profound impact on the artist's subsequent work.
His earlier paintings carried a strong social message and powerful execution, which employed surrealist iconography to heighten the sense of drama, but from the mid-1950s onwards Hamed Nada's style underwent major changes. He began to look at the work of Ragheb Ayad, from the first generation of Egyptian pioneer artists, who had reinterpreted pharaonic art in his portrayals of ordinary Egyptians. Also for inspiration Nada looked to Nubian folk art and African primitive art. Also for inspiration Nada looked to Nubian folk art and African primitive art.