The Breakdown: Artist Rana Begum talks us through 'No. 799Floats'

The finished work continues the dialogue with light and form which is ever-present in my practice. (Supplied)
Updated 05 June 2018

The Breakdown: Artist Rana Begum talks us through 'No. 799Floats'

My work is in a very positive place at the moment. I participated in a month-long residency at Porthmeor Studios, St Ives in March 2018 as part of Tate St Ives’ Artist’s Programme. The works from this exhibition mark the beginning of a new series which I’m really excited about, especially when I think about the various directions the work might go. 

The month-long residency afforded me time to think, play and experiment with new materials. It was important for me to immerse myself in the surroundings. I spent a lot time with the modernist collection, reconnecting with the work of Barbara Hepworth, while also drawing inspiration from site-specific materials such as the floats and fishing nets I foraged from the fishermen’s studio below mine.

It’s something of a leap of faith to work in this way. You don’t know what the outcome will be, but you have to give in to uncertainty and allow playfulness and experimentation to take over until a direction presents itself which feels worth pursuing. I love working like that — allowing the material at hand and the surrounding environment to direct the work rather than a predetermined outcome.

The finished work continues the dialogue with light and form which is ever-present in my practice. Similar to past works, this series grew from seeing the beauty in functional materials — transforming recognizable objects from daily life, re-contextualizing them and allowing them to transform. In a process of distillation I separated the fish nets to create wall drawings. Stretched across the wall, they become more about the geometric patterns that define them, while the spherical floats allowed me to respond to the tactile, sumptuous forms of Hepworth’s sculptures, inspiring an array of abstract plaster forms, devoid of color yet rich in light.

Though in many ways a departure from past concerns with vibrant colors and modular forms, this series of work feels like the next logical step in my practice's evolution. These pieces are more meditative and reflective, but there is a real playfulness and a celebration of place there too.


Egyptian actor and academic Sanaa Shafea dies aged 77

Updated 12 August 2020

Egyptian actor and academic Sanaa Shafea dies aged 77

  • The actor suffered from severe pneumonia during the past two days
  • Culture Minister Inas Abdel Dayem paid tribute to Shafea saying he had “formed a dramatic milestone"

CAIRO: Egyptian actor and academic Sanaa Shafea died on Wednesday at the age of 77 after a short illness.
The actor suffered from severe pneumonia during the past two days before he died in hospital, Egyptian newspapers said. 
Egyptian Culture Minister Inas Abdel Dayem paid tribute to Shafea saying he had “formed a dramatic milestone in Egyptian theatrical performance,” Al-Akhbar El-Youm newspaper reported.
Abdel Dayem said that throughout his career he succeeded in performing complex characters and produced a group of immortal works.
The actor, theater director and professor was the dean of the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts in Cairo.  
He reportedly married nine times, among them his marriage to Egyptian actor Nada Bassiouny.
Born in 1943, in Assiut region, Upper Egypt, Shafea lived in a village for eight years before moving to Cairo with his father.
His love for acting was met with objection from his father, who was a scholar at Al-Azhar Islamic Institute.
Shafea took part in almost 30 films and played a number of roles in many television series, the most prominent of which are “Omar bin Abdul Aziz”, “Haroun Al-Rasheed”, “Bab Al-Khalq”, “Hadret Al Motaham Aby”, and during last Ramadan he participated in “Layalina 80”.