Female artists have long been overshadowed by their male counterparts with very few standing the test of time. The most notable 20th century female artist Frida Kahlo who was known for her self-portraits that shed light on identity, suffering and the human body remains the only notable artist who was able to send out a message on complex issues through her work. Today, Egyptian-born Hayam Elsayed is not far behind in following her footsteps as she carves out her own niche with characters that express more than words could say. “When I held the brush, I felt a different motion go through my hand while I was painting my first painting,” she explains.
Seeking out emotions and capturing them with her meticulous drawing techniques and color choices, Elsayed is mindful of telling a story that reflect character and strength, hope and courage. For her, observance is the key to unlocking the story of every person, making each portrait a deeply personal revelation of an individual’s reaction to the surroundings, relationships and external stimuli. Regal, alluring and mysterious in their appearance, her painted portraits are almost obscure yet never vague; inviting and yet never approachable. Instead, they have the power to hold your gaze and share their story in silence that gently whispers tales untold. Recalling her first experience observing portraits in Florence, Italy she says, “I could feel the painting, the color, the design of the portrait itself, as if I was a part of the painting. Looking back at that time I can see how my life and my whole perspective towards art had changed.” Armed with a Degree in Psychology, Elsayed’s portraits focus on women of all races and colors – Hispanic, Asian, Arab, Caucasian, African – and there’s something deeply engaging about every muse, with her main aim being to reveal the intensity of emotions through the gaze of the eyes.
Watching people laugh, cry and react is what inspires all her work while she strives to focus on the rights and treatment of women. Having exhibited her collection of portraits at the Galleria360 in Florence as part of a group exhibition, this year Elsayed made her solo debut at the World Art Dubai alongside solo artists participating from over 30 countries. If eyes could speak, then her portraits reveal more than just the soul of a person. In fact, they form the gateway to a secret garden of experiences – some lived, and others forever sealed in gripping silence.
Image Courtesy of Hayam Elsayed