An Egyptian sculptor is turning scrap into giant ancient Egyptian statues to promote the Egyptian civilization and highlight its significance and glamor.
Ibrahim Salah, 27, was able to combine the ancient Pharaonic civilization with the present, by creating huge statues of some of Egypt’s Pharaonic figures.
He managed to build from scrap a statue of Bastet who was the god of protection in ancient Egypt. Bastet is a statue in the form of a cat and is crafted of scrap materials with a height of 6 meters and a weight of half a ton of iron.
“It took me 30 days to construct this statue. I worked for more than 8 hours a day to fashion this statue from scrap, iron and nuts,” he told Majalla.
Ibrahim said that he constructed Bastet specifically because of its value to ancient Egyptians as they were keen to mummify cats with the same technique they used to mummify people.
“Moreover, hundreds of cats were found mummified in the Pharaonic tombs,” he added.
After the 27-year-old sculptor finished Bastet, he started working on Cleopatra, a statue composed of spoons and chains with a height of 5 meters and a weight of 250 kilograms.
But this second work was different. “I gained a lot of experience from my first work and in this second piece of art all I needed was a greater focus on the delicacy of the Queen's facial features,” he said.
Salah makes his Pharaonic statues from iron, car glass, tires, and plumbing pipes. In his view, scrap is neglected so he wanted to salvage it in an environmentally-friendly way.
Salah chose a Pharaonic identity for his project for a few reasons, including his consideration that it is the most prototypical expression of Egypt and Egyptians as well as his personal pride in being an Egyptian.
Salah also seeks to display his statues in tourist sites, hotels and tourist bazaars as well as in exhibits to schoolchildren who can learn about Egyptian civilization through his art.
“This kind of art can be really useful for many young people to know more about the Egyptian civilization and it can also promote the Egyptian heritage abroad through exhibitions and events,” he said.
A scrap-made statue of Cleopatra stands in the “Location View” workshop in El Haram neighbourhood, Giza governorate. (By Menna A. Farouk)
EXHIBITION OF SCRAP
Salah developed a great interest in sculpting from a young age, but only 5 years ago he decided to turn this hobby into a profession.
Salah also carved figures using rocks and gypsum, which are difficult materials in sculpt.
“It is a hobby that breathes life into me and creates a purpose in my life especially since I promote Egyptian civilization,” he said.
Salah added that there is not enough awareness about artistic achievement in Egypt but he seeks to expand people’s ideas about art through exhibitions.
“I hope that I can organize the first exhibition for scrap-made statues related to Egyptian civilization in the Middle East to give the public and those interested wider knowledge about Egyptian art and its significance,” he said.