James Crabb: A State of Mind – Paintings From Egypt 2009 to 2013

About the exhibition ‘A State of Mind: Paintings from Egypt 2009 to 2013

Preview: Tuesday 16th April 7.00 pm to 8.30 pm


These paintings are about our human capacity to accept time. They were conceived in the cauldron that was Egypt leading up to and following the Revolution of 2011. When I arrived back in Egypt in 2008, after being away for two years, I began sketching head shapes and using them as motifs in my paintings to explore the condition of being in an emotional state of ‘protest’. This had been stimulated by an idea I had developed during my previous stay in Egypt , which was that the ‘soul’ of Egypt was somehow submerged in the surface of an old wall, caught in time and in a state of limbo, slowly fading away in a reverie of nostalgia.


It was not until I saw the massed faces of the protestors in the media in January 2011 that I saw that there was a very strong visual connection between these images and what was actually happening in the world outside; it seemed that life was suddenly imitating art. So many anonymous faces had become a pure collective expression of human will, demanding to be recognized, to be validated. This was the soul of Egypt emerging from its prison in time to say “now we are here and we will be heard”.


Since the revolution the head shapes have become larger. They have become a focus for exploring what it is that forces us to accept, or drives us to protest against, our emotional and psychological experience of time; how is it that we can submit to our condition or find the resolve to resist, seemingly on the turn of a coin? In Egypt it has been a period of fluctuations; between hope and dissolution, between resolve and impotency, between tension and vacuum, between fear and determination. What is so often played out in everyday life has been played out on a grand stage, and what are in the course of every day life very much the private states of mind of an individual have become the very public states of mind of a nation. This series of paintings represents a meditation on the emotional and psychological currents that had been flowing for some time before the curtain of media attention descended on Egypt in 2011, and which continue to do so. These are currents which punctuate all our lives in various forms at some time or another.

Duration 16 April 2013 - 22 April 2013
Cost Free
Venue Brick Lane Gallery - Annexe
Address 93-95 Sclater Street London E1 6HR, ,
Contact 0207 7299721 / info@thebricklanegallery.com / www.thebricklanegallery.com

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