Tahia Halim (Egyptian, 1919-2003)
Lots are subject to 5% import Duty on the importat… Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE EGYPTIAN COLLECTION
Tahia Halim (Egyptian, 1919-2003)

Oghniya Li Al Nil (A Song for the Nile)

Tahia Halim (Egyptian, 1919-2003)
Oghniya Li Al Nil (A Song for the Nile)
signed 'T. Halim' (lower left); signed 'T. Halim' (on the reverse); signed, titled and inscribed in Arabic, signed 'Tahia Halim' (on the stretcher)
acrylic on canvas
39 3/8 x 27¼in. (100 x 69cm.)
Painted circa early 1970s
Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner.
Special notice

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Lot Essay

One of the few female artists to emerge from the heavily male oriented Egyptian art scene, Tahia Halim's compositions offer fresh and alternative depictions with wild brushstrokes and use of earthy tones that centered around the grand social themes of war, rebellion, revolution, poverty and uprisings. In fact so successful was Halim in captivating the artistic circles in Egypt that she was offered the International Guggenheim Award for Egypt in 1958.

Between 1960 and 1961 however, Halim, amongst many other artists, was invited to spend some time in Nubia before the Aswan High Dam project was to flood the Nubian lands and displace several hundreds of thousands of people. Halim's exposure to the Nubians before their migration inspired her later period and continued to be a recurring subject matter in her paintings up until her death.

In Oghniya Li Al Nil (A Song for the Nile), Halim depicts a single Nubian man playing on a traditional instrument known as a Kissar or Nubian Lyre while he stands on a traditional felucca. In the background there are several boats sailing down the Nile, a direct reference to the migration of the Nubian people on their journey to escape the flooding of their lands. The protagonist is somewhat forlorn in his forced displacement, taking solace in the soothing sounds of his instrument as he plucks the strings in a tune dedicated to the waters of the long winding river.

Halim's use of earthy tones, predominantly browns and sepia hues, exemplifies her strong belief and inspiration in tradition, nature and history while expressing the deep love for her native homeland. The simplicity of her lines and brushwork assume aspects of Coptic art, with scarce attention to correct proportion and expressive exaggeration of form and colour, lending it a kind of authenticity in keeping with the subject.

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