Egyptian artist, currently residing in Cairo. Born in 1972 in the Egyptian town of Kafr El-Sheikh, Abdel Baky is one of Egypt’s foremost contemporary artists. She acquired her M.A. in Visual Arts with a focus on oil painting from Ain Shams University in Cairo in 2002, and a PhD in Art Theory from Cairo University in 2010. She produces paintings with an aesthetic that pays homage to the vernacular culture of Egypt in a style that melds modern Egyptian art aesthetic with a contemporary disregard for classical conventions of figurative drawing.
Hayam’s paintings are a cornucopia of colour; brazen shades of yellows, reds, oranges and greens that do not apologize for their intensity, so saturated as to suggest that the artist revels in celebrating the very subject or themes which she is portraying by imbuing them with the vitality and life of spirited colour. Like other female Egyptian artists that have come before her, AbdelBaky celebrates Egyptian women, and demands it from the viewer as well.
The female figure is central to her oeuvre, and this is best represented in her work of the young bride that awaits to be married. The bride or bride-doll is a common motif in Egyptian culture, particularly the bride-doll owing to its association with the celebrations of Moulid El Nabawi, The Prophet’s birthday. AbdelBaky’s repeated depiction of the doll demonstrates her deep understanding of the importance of certain motifs and their place within Egyptian culture. The bride or bride-doll are representations of hope: the doll is oftentimes a stand-in for Egypt and for the idea that Egypt is Oum El Donia the origin of not only the young female with the potential of life and a bright future ahead of her, but of the world itself.
The multiple layers of the inherent symbolism of the bride cannot be ignored. AbdelBaky understands vernacular culture, and is so inspired by it, that she paints the subjects that matter most to contemporary Egyptian culture- life and the humanity inherent in the goings and comings of daily life. Hence, her paintings are often of vignettes of contemporary life amongst the working class: women huddled over coffee cups and market places. Street life is celebrated in all its glory.
AbdelBaky has participated in several group and solo exhibitions as well as biennales both locally in Egypt and abroad. Her works are included in many collections such as the Egyptian Modern Art Museum; the National Visual Arts Center of Egypt; the Egyptian Ministry of Culture; the Telis Art Foundation in Sweden; and the Jawarakhpour University Collection in India amongst others. Her works can also be found in collections in Morocco, Poland, Benin, France, Switzerland, the United States, Dubai and Qatar.