Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hussein Bikar

Hussein Bikar represents rare combination of artist and distinguished critic. Bikar is known not only for his portraits but also as a talented caricaturist. Bikar remained faithful to traditional models of portraiture and throughout a long career had no shortage of sitters happy for the artist to produce his realistic portraits which often, too, included details culled from ancient Egyptian. Bikar was born in Alexandria, Egypt on 2 January 1913.

After graduating from Cairo's legendary Faculty of Fine Arts in 1933, he became a teaching assistant the same year, then a Director of the Photography department. Bikar subsequently became a Professor in the Painting Department, and ultimately IT’S Chair.

In 1945 He began his career in journalism when he became one of the founding fathers of the prestigious Akhbar Al-Yom newspaper, doing drawings often accompanied by his own vernacular poems. Bikar became a towering figure on the Egyptian arts scene in late 1950.

In January, 1952 he was instrumental in starting a weekly children's magazine Al-Sindbad, for which he was--along with "Sarookhan" and "Rakha"--its main cartoonist and illustrator.

In 1959, Bikar abandoned a teaching career to work in journalism as an illustrator and cartoonist: known for his sensuous, elongated lines, Bikar's work broke new ground in media art and was both accessible and sophisticated. He was also an outstanding musician, and during his career as an artist and critic at Al-Akhbar, he often sought out and encouraged young talents.

Bikar was also one of the founders of Cairo's Helwan Wax Museum. Over the years, Mr. Bikar had taught thousands of students at the Faculty of Fine Arts and became Egypt's most celebrated painter. His talent and artistic excellence became recognized worldwide.

The Helwan Wax Museum is a small public museum located in the Cairo, Egypt suburb of Helwan, close to the Ain Helwan Metro station. It contains exhibits of wax sculptures demonstrating important figures from Egyptian history and idealized traditional Egyptian culture.

Bikar, has been very much in the lime light as most publications in Egypt have been dedicating special sections to pay tribute to a long and distinguished career.

Bikar was honored with several awards including, the State Merit award in 1978, the Merit Medal award in 1980, Finally in June 2000 the Presidential Award from the Egyptian President Mr. Mubarak. He donated the full LE 100,000 of his prize to the Children's Cancer Hospital in Cairo.

Bikar became attracted to the Baha'i Faith in the 1930s and accepted it shortly after as his religion. He became a staunch supporter of its Institutions, and upholder of its principles. He also served on its key administrative functions. In the 1980s He was repeatedly interrogated and arrested simply because he was a Baha'i. Despite his numerous contributions to Egyptian Society, he died without having access to an Egyptian identity card because of his beliefs in the Baha’i Faith.

Bikar is widely regarded as a classic of modern Egyptian painting. Selections from his work can be seen at the Egyptian Modern Art Museum in Gezira, Cairo and the local museum of El-Gouna
El Gouna is a tourist resort, developed and owned by Orascom Hotels and Development, dating from about 1990, It is located on the Red Sea in Egypt, 22 km north of Hurghada International Airport.

"I opened a window for hope to seep onto a dark soil a dough mixed with blood and a martyr The setting sun glimpsed through a crack in the prison wall through the wire and the iron it crept and there my vision started All at once I looked up a flight of pigeons filled the distance As though someone was celebrating a feast unveiling a happiness I praised the ways of God transforming the ancient a new this land, this Egypt awakens too, from old decrepit age, sheds all wrinkles and is again a youthful bride."

Hussein Bikar

موال ربيعي فتحت شباك الأمل على ارض سمرة معجونة بدم الشهيد ولمحت شمس الأصيل مسجونة جوه قفص من سلك وحديد وفجأة بصيت لفوق لقيت أسراب الحمام مليا القريب والبعيد وفرحانة بالوشوش اللي بتبنيها وكأنه مهرجان أو عيد قلت سبحانك يارب قادر تبدل العتيق بالجديد وتصبح مصر عروسه زمانها شباب من غيرتجاعيد

حسين بيكار


Anonymous said...

Bikar is widely celebrated as one of the pioneers of modern painting.

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