The fellaha (peasant woman) is a recurrent theme in Mokhtar's work. His most famous sculpture, Nahdat Misr (Egypt Awakening) a monumental group in pink granite, which originally stood in Midan Bab Al Hadid, but now opposite the University Bridge, represents a sphinx rising and a peasant woman unveiling. It was the first monumental granite sculpture to be created since antiquity, and exceptional in that it expresses not the likeness of a ruler, but an abstract ideal.Egypt Awakening, shows a woman removing her veil,standing next to a sphinx. It evokes both continuity and transformation within Egyptian sociey. The elements in the present piece are clearly related and highly symbolic. The graceful woman symbolises Art, the veil relates to female emancipation, and the fellaha represents Egypt herself and Egyptian nationalism.
By representing contemporary subjects and bestowing upon them the nobility of the antique, Mokhtar's sculptures symbolically unite the distant past with a longed-for progressive future.The influence of pharaonic art permeates much of Mokhtar's mature work. Using the language of ancient sculpture, in particular the massing of forms, elegant abstraction and idealization, in some ways mirrors the contemporary trends of Art Deco. In contrast, the present work, with its rough texture and heavily shrouded figure, draws inspiration from Hellenistic and Roman prototypes, especially funerary figures and depictions of the priesthood.