City Face (1, 2, 3 )
The idea of these works came from continuously passing through a tunnel in Ezbet Khairalla (Cairo) where waste thrown out of the car windows or from the houses accumulates to the point of preventing pedestrians from walking. The desire for clean and accessible streets is the main driving force of the artist’s works: Mousa imagines acting like some kind of sorcerer who with a flick of his magic wand whirls up the rubbish left on the streets and puts the scraps and the discarded materials back together to give shape to something artistically worthy to be admired by the passers-by who had got used to looking at the waste piles with disgust. Hatem’s long experience as a scenographer gave him the tools to conceive and realize an impressive piece of scenery, without having to worry about facing the technical difficulties of constructing large-scale objects. In his choice of cars lies a playful dimension reminiscent of childhood games for boys, which, whether using wood, iron or plastic bricks, were based on the idea of building. Here the main items involved are colourful plastic caps that make the surfaces of the works seem painted, like in a pointillist picture. Formal unity, however, is just apparent, since beyond the fact that they share the assembling technique, the visual references recall different cultural backgrounds: while the whole car resembles an old model for leisure purposes from the 1930s, the front and side car sections displayed on the walls evoke images from American animated cartoons, in which cars were humanized, had smiley faces and experienced incredible adventures.
Hatem Mousa, a Cairo-based sculptor and scenic designer, obtained his Degree in Fine Arts from Helwan University in 2013. In 2014-2015 he attended the Decoration department of the Fine Arts Faculty, Alexandria University. Interested in up-cycling and in conveying the idea that waste has artistic value, he uses different materials, such as metal and wood to give shape to his artworks. He participated in some exhibitions in Cairo, such as Mahatat and applied his artistic skills in the field of cinema and theatre, working as a film director and co-director, a scenic designer, a scenographer and as a costume, décor and lighting assistant designer.