As an Egyptian born artist known for far more than merely his ability as a painter, Hussein Bicar shares a deep passion for nature and his surroundings. Using his works to amalgamate the deep roots of Egyptian history, the nature of its people, the political climate and the innate beauty of the land itself by delving into the essence of Egyptian society and rural life through his undeniably patriotic compositions, the artist’s beautiful painterly aesthetic invites his viewers to step inside a world of rural Egyptian splendour.
In the seminal work Harvest II, the viewer is captivated by the delicate beauty with which the artist approaches his female protagonist. Her long body, delicate curves and accentuated feminine features are intrinsic to Bicar’s style. Shown in profile, the female holds a large bale of hay horizontally above her head, providing a harmonious paradox to the verticality of the black veil which is draped over her head and extends to her waist. With the delicacy of each brushstroke, the artist employs a great deal of consistency and detail into the crafting of his paintings. With a great attention to detail, Bicar attends to her face with the utmost of care, portraying each contour with undeniable sensitivity. Her long eyelashes and bold gold earrings are essential to the nature of the artist’s technique. Imbued with profound grace, Bicar nods to the beauty of the Egyptian woman and the importance of her role in society.
Infatuated by Nubian culture, the artist, like many of his counterparts, was captivated by the area before its disappearance with the Aswan Dam. Travelling there to obtain a detailed visual account on Nubian traditions and customs, the sense of realism with which Bicar paints became the perfect technique by which to record these observations into beautifully crafted compositions. This realistic, yet idyllic technique which became the backbone of his painterly practice and gave precedence to a great attention to detail. Conscious of the importance between light and dark, Bicar’s use of shadow creates a sense of movement whilst simultaneously providing a fascinating sense of dimensionality.
Through a profound use of symbolism, the artist ensures a depth not only of his subject matter but also of its meaning. The two delicately painted white doves which fly in opposing directions in front of the female’s leg divulge a sense of freedom and peace. Furthermore, the wheat which she holds above her head can be interpreted as denoting both the female and her role in fertility, as well as a tribute to the motherland of Egypt. Painted during the 1980s, at the height of socialist and nationalist sentiment, it was not surprising that the work by patriotic artists such as Bicar were infused with a deep sense of hopefulness and pride.