Youssef Nabil (Egyptian, b. 1972)
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Fifi with a Shisha, Cairo, 2000

Fifi with a Shisha, Cairo, 2000
signed, numbered, inscribed and dated 'Youssef Nabil, Cairo 2000 8/10' (on the reverse)
hand-coloured gelatin silver print
15 3/8 x 10¼in. (39 x 26cm.)
Executed in 2000, this work is number eight from an edition of ten
Yossi Milo Gallery, New York.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
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Lot Essay

In his delicate photographs, the Egyptian artist Youssef Nabil depicts seductive and sensuous characters in theatrical poses.
The women in Nabil's works evoke the Middle Eastern and North African clichés of beauty, once discovered in the orientalist paintings of the nineteenth century which he reinterprets in his photographs with a subtle touch of irony.
Youssef Nabil's observation of life is inspired by cinematographic practices and many of his photographic works, enhanced by his distinctive technique of hand-colouring, are reminiscent of film stills from the golden age of Egyptian cinema, thus alluding to the artist's feeling of nostalgia towards a better past.
Fifi Abdou, a well-known Egyptian actress is depicted smoking the Shisha as if to suggest her provocative routines, which nonetheless made her very much part of the mainstream of Egyptian popular culture. Fifi Smoking a Shisha, Cairo, 2000 is undeniably one of Youssef Nabil's most iconic works.
His photographs have been exhibited in important venues around the world including the British Museum in London, the North Carolina Museum of Art and the Aperture Foundation in New York. He currently lives and works in New York.

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