Born in Alexandria, Egypt, 1930; Lives and works in New York, New York
I am not building a world—for me, that world, my world, exists and has existed since time immemorial. It is a world where everything is seen, perceived and understood differently. Your world is bound by conditioning, preconceived habits. In mine, the senses are free. — Ahmed Morsi
Ahmed Morsi is a figure who transcends mediums of expression. After graduating from the University of Alexandria with a major in English Literature, his poetic impulses navigated through different artistic terrain. Morsi was a pivotal presence in the literati societies of Baghdad and Alexandria; an artist and critic who developed visionary paintings, stage sets, and the acclaimed avant-garde magazine Galerie ’68—a publication that became the voice of the new Arabic modernism and a cultural source that uniquely manifested a platform for constructive dialogue. In 1974, the artist moved to Manhattan where he continues to explore the extensions and thresholds of expressive form. In his paintings, he mines Alexandria’s fabled artistic and literary history for its iconography, juxtaposing it against everyday elements from New York City—his home for the past forty years. Mannequins, horse skulls and androgynous figures are set against undefined backdrops. Like riddles, Morsi reassembles his disparate elements in elusive, lyrical compositions, where time lapses, and the sea is a palpable presence. His practice offers a powerful and mystical meditation on remembrance and the passage of time. His body of work bears witness to the artist’s life as an Alexandrian that has been living away from home since the 1970s.
African Artists: From 1882 to Now