As the master behind the canvas, Hussein Bicar’s time spent as an illustrative journalist, portrait artist, poet, art critic and teacher, have critically informed his attitude as a painter. In Harvest I, the viewer is transported deep into the heart of the Egyptian countryside. With the fascinating ability to observe reality and translate it into rigorously patriotic and seamlessly crafted works of art, the artist uses an aesthetic which blends realism with idealism, to imbue the scenes of his homeland with a beautiful sense of familiarity, capturing the stunning beauty of the region. Bicar harmonises Egyptian folk culture with his fascination for ancient Egypt and Pharaonic civilisation, creating visual stories which transports the viewer into an alternate reality.
Bicar boasts his wealth of knowledge on the Egyptian landscape through his canvases by portraying both a man and woman working in the fields, yet undoubtedly approaching his subjects with a sense of personal familiarity. Enhanced by a significant attention to detail, the artist constructs both his protagonists with an unwavering sense of realism. The woman’s face in profile, accentuates its every feature as well as the gold circular earrings which hide beneath the length of her black veil. Similarly, the male figure in this present work gazes off into the distance outside the canvas as though captured in a fleeting moment of movement. With a deep-rooted affinity for women, being conscious of the role which they play in society, Bicar chooses to place the female in the foreground to cement her status as the one who dominates the scene, elevating her standing within the context of the working class.
With an unwavering desire to paint with a certain level of authenticity and documentary, Bicar most famously spent time gaining insight on Nubia and the way of life of its people. Having been one of many artists who travelled to Nubia in order to document its people before the swelling of the Aswan Dam which led to the eventual destruction of the area. With this in mind, Bicar paints with a certain authority on the subject. With the mountainous landscape in the background being approached by the rolling hills and crop fields beneath it, each of Bicar’s scenes are laced with an undeniable sense of pride which simultaneously implement a visual lexicon nodding to pharaonic civilisation and their artistic practice.
Deeply conscious of Pan-Arabian culture at the height of Egyptian socialism in 1984 when the present work was painted, Bicar imbued a strong sense of nationalism through his works that sought influence from political posters, consequently painting with deep underlying political undertones. In Harvest I, it thus becomes clear that Bicar’s agenda is to highlight the strength of the masses and their hope for a bright future.