Nada Elkalaawy’s paintings and drawings attempt to explore notions of isolation and confinement. She utilizes small scale close-ups to relay a solitariness that is conducive to intimacy. Moments of forced reflection and observations of minute physical details are heightened in a closed space and a protracted experience of duration. Elkalaawy captures instances of deep attention one was only afforded at an early age, like the archaic exercise of observing seasons from the confines of a windowpane.
Elkalaawy uses mediums of oil on canvas, watercolors and biro pen on paper. Each technique lends a different temporality to the moments in question. Some works are completed in one sitting to signify an urgency to this prolonged state of being. Engaged in various banal activities, Elkalaawy’s figures seem to be detached and her act of seeing is the only deliberate one. The domestic setting is an introduction to every subsequent experience and a mirror for family dynamics and spatial explorations. Returning to a feeling of a familiar confinement, fixed practices of seeing, touching, waiting and being in the company of others are oddly altered.
Nada Elkalaawy (b. Alexandria,1995) received her MFA in Fine Art Painting from the Slade School of Fine Art in 2018 and her BA in Fine Art from Kingston University in 2016. Her work has been shown in Southwark Park Galleries, London; Kunsthalle am Hamburger Platz, Berlin; KINO DER KUNST, Munich; Shubbak Festival, London (2020); MASS Alexandria, Alexandria; Sharjah Art Gallery, Cairo; Medrar, Cairo (2019); Gypsum, Cairo; Rich Mix, London (2018); Nahim Isaias Museum, Guayaquil; The Refugees Museum, Thessaloniki; The Crypt Gallery, London (2017) and The Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Alexandria (2016). She participated in the MASS Alexandria Studio Programme, Alexandria (2018) and will be participating in the Prohelvetia Studio Residency, Basel and L’appartement 22 Artist Residency, Rabat (2021). Elkalaawy has been shortlisted for The Dentons Art Prize and the Sarabande Emerging Art fund. She is one of five founding members of the artist group K-OH-LLECTIVE, recipient of Mophradat’s Self-Organizations grant in 2020. Elkalaawy lives and works in London.