The City of Alexandria: Its Identity and Environment in the works of Alexandria’s Pioneer Painters


Alexandria city
Said Wanly

How to Cite

Fadl, L. A. E. S. M. (2017). The City of Alexandria: Its Identity and Environment in the works of Alexandria’s Pioneer Painters. The Academic Research Community Publication, 1(1), 9.


The unique location of Alexandria city in the Mediterranean Basin has attracted several artistic civilizations ever since the time of Ptolemy. This has been the case during the Roman era, and the subsequent eras throughout which Alexandria remained the window of Egypt and most of the Middle East to the European cultures and arts. As a result, Alexandria has witnessed the cultural and artistic renaissance during the second half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century, since "Muhammad Ali" –and his family–permitted the foreign delegations to come and form colonies fused with the human component of Alexandria that had a unique character. Consequently, the foreign artists’ rooms were widely spread and the Alexandrian pioneers of painting art, of the first and second generations, studied under their supervision. Despite being trained by foreigners, their sense of belonging to the Egyptian identity or their participation in laying groundwork for a national art project deeply rooted in the heritage of the nation wasn’t affected. However, they were receptive to maturely cope with the modernity of the western schools of arts. Mahmoud Said, a painter, after completing the art foundation phase, employed his art to portray the modern Egyptian man as a national hero. This portrayal was possible through his use of environmental elements and characters. Seif Wanli was one of the most receptive Egyptian painters to the modern and contemporary western schools of art. He was allegedly known to be unconcerned with the issue of national identity; however, Alexandria kept its high rank in his art despite being characterized by global features. Adham Wanli remained loyal to his impressive and symbolic realism as Alexandria, with all its components, was the core of his artistic creativity. Hamid Aweys left his hometown and went to Alexandria and spent most of his age therein. His belonging to the identity and environment of that ancient coastal city was the same as that of the previously mentioned artists. He was inspired by the city’s environmental and cultural elements in a distinctive way.


Abogazi, B.E. (May 1985), Pioneers of Fine Art .

Najib, I.D. (1985) The dawn of modern Egyptian painting. Future House.

Saad El Din, M. (2002), Between materialism and spirituality. Arab Renaissance House.

Daustashi, I. (1997, April 8), Ministry of Culture. Cultural Development Fund.

Azar, E. (1961), Modern Painting in Egypt. Cairo.

Cranock, L. (2005), Modern Egyptian Art (1910-2003). The American University in Cairo Press.

Qassem, S. (2015), Artist Mahmoud Said. Memory of the Arts.

Qassem, S. (2017, January), Brothers Saif & Adham and Wanli. Memory Arts.

Nawar, A. (2004), Hamed Aweys Egyptian artist. Journal of Art.

Al-Nasser, M. (2005), Journal of half the world.

El Hawary, H.E. (2011, 29 September), Article by artist Hamed Aweys. Nahdet Misr Newspaper.

 Creative Commons License

  • The Author shall grant to the Publisher and its agents the nonexclusive perpetual right and license to publish, archive, and make accessible the Work in whole or in part in all forms of media now or hereafter known under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License or its equivalent, which, for the avoidance of doubt, allows others to copy, distribute, and transmit the Work under the following conditions:
  • Attribution: other users must attribute the Work in the manner specified by the author as indicated on the journal Web site;

With the understanding that the above condition can be waived with permission from the Author and that where the Work or any of its elements is in the public domain under applicable law, that status is in no way affected by the license.

  • The Author is able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the nonexclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the Work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), as long as there is provided in the document an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
  • Authors are permitted and encouraged to post online a pre-publication manuscript (but not the Publisher's final formatted PDF version of the Work) in institutional repositories or on their Websites prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (see The Effect of Open Access). Any such posting made before acceptance and publication of the Work shall be updated upon publication to include a reference to the Publisher-assigned DOI (Digital Object Identifier) and a link to the online abstract for the final published Work in the Journal.
  • Upon Publisher's request, the Author agrees to furnish promptly to Publisher, at the Author's own expense, written evidence of the permissions, licenses, and consents for use of third-party material included within the Work, except as determined by Publisher to be covered by the principles of Fair Use.
  • The Author represents and warrants that:
  • The Work is the Author's original work;
  • The Author has not transferred, and will not transfer, exclusive rights in the Work to any third party;
  • The Work is not pending review or under consideration by another publisher;
  • The Work has not previously been published;
  • The Work contains no misrepresentation or infringement of the Work or property of other authors or third parties; and
  • The Work contains no libel, invasion of privacy, or other unlawful matter.
  • The Author agrees to indemnify and hold Publisher harmless from Author's breach of the representations and warranties contained in Paragraph 7 above, as well as any claim or proceeding relating to Publisher's use and publication of any content contained in the Work, including third-party content.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.