Contemporary Arts

Omar El Nagdi

(b 1931),


Prominent artist who has made his mark in activating what is known as the Egyptian ‘Identity’ in Modern Egyptian Art. A painter, ceramics artist, sculptor, engraver, and mosaic-maker. He graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Cairo in 1953 and became Head of the Interior Designs and Furniture in the Faculty of Applied Arts in1974.


His symbolic paintings with an Expressionist tendency; his Fauvism – like his contemporary Saleh Reda – led some people to feel that he was a master to be copied. He presented the village elder, and the men seated on the mastaba (platform) outside their homes, and the relationships of lovers and sweethearts from the poorer urban classes, and this collection stayed in people’s minds as it crystallized many of their memories. He may have returned to it now with greater brightness, power and clarity, after abandoning the literalism of his paintings at the end of the Sixties era. The field of sculpture owes to Omar el-Nagdy the idea of positive and negative poles, embodied in his statues with a section cut out of them and the missing piece displayed next to them, since the Sixties. He also has a pioneering role in large-scale mosaics of landscapes.


Omar El-Nagdi participated in many exhibitions and Biennales in Egypt, Europe and the former Soviet Union. Winner of several prizes, his paintings were acquired by museums and renowned institutions throughout the world.. He exhibited at the following locations: Museum of Modern Art, Cairo in 1957, Museum of Modern Art, Venice in 1961, Museum of Fine Art Alexandria & Museum of Modern Art, South Korea, Akhenaton art gallery in 1965, Cairo Atelier in 1965, Cairo Salon in 1968, Monaco in 1968, The Egyptian Academy in Rome in 1992, The 26th, 27th National Art Exhibition in 1999 & 2001. In collaboration with 100 artists from world countries El-Nagdy staged an exhibition in Normandy, France in 1994 as well as a Group Exhibition in New York, Washington and London in 1994.


He won several prizes National and International such as the First prize from Luxor Studio, Luxor, The prize for painting (graduation project), the Faculty of Fine Arts in 1953, the First prize for painting in the Science Day, Egypt in 1955 & 1956. -First prize for printmaking and silkscreen, Cairo salon in 1969, First prize for mosaic, Cairo Salon in 1970, First prize for sculpture, Cairo Salon in 1971, First prize for painting, Saudi Arabia in 1983. For the International Awards, he got Two prizes for Print, Annual Art Festival in Venice in 1961 & 1962, First prize for print, Alexandria Biennale in 1968, First prize for print and silkscreen, Alexandria Biennale in 1974.


El-Nagdi is an Egyptian symbolist and magician of color. His paintings are sufficient proof of his exceptional gifts for symbolic design and the splendid use of color.


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