The exhibition’s title is borrowed from Gustave Courbet, a French painter who led the 19th century’s Realism movement and who — through his depictions of peasants and workers — touched on new social components in arts.
In ‘Be Yourself’, El-Tarawy presents Egyptian women as they are connected to multiple environments and social backgrounds. His paintings trigger thoughts on the places they were born and raised in, their work environments and growth within the complex social and human realities.
Combining the imaginary with the real, his paintings feature women that come strongly to the fore, while others remain hidden in highly creative compositions of colours and their layers.
As he often capitalises on blue, dark red, and green, he gives diversity to each of his heroines. However, it is through the theme and canvases on Al-Bab Gallery’s walls that he unifies them all in their strength and rebellion against roles placed on them by societies.
It is through this multilayered depiction of women that El-Tarawy addresses their issues and creates a full image of women while supporting their emancipation. With ‘Be Yourself’, El-Tarawy sends a clear message to all women, regardless of their interest and social or economic status.
Born in 1956, artist Mohamed El-Tarawy is also the chief illustrator of Ros Al-Youssef Magazine and managing editor of Al-Khayal Magazine. His journey as an artist includes dozens of exhibitions held in Egypt and across many halls as well as internationally.
He exhibits his work extensively in solo and group exhibitions, with many held in Italy, Switzerland, France, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, China, and others.
El-Tarawy was commissioned by the Egyptian fine arts sector to participate with a number of renowned graphic artists in an exhibition held at the Donshway Museum, in which they expressed the tragic events that the village witnessed at the hands of British colonialists.
His other important assignments include curating art for the Egyptian Folkloric Art Exhibition in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and for the 17th Youth Salon (Egypt, 2005), alongside curating art for the Contemporary Art Exhibition in Jordan, among other important roles in the Egyptian art scene.
Additionally, he was a member of the Higher Committee of the Second and Third Luxor International Photography Forum (2009, 2010).
El-Tarawy was awarded several prizes for his etching work in the late 1970s and early 1980s by the Supreme Youth Council, including two first awards. This was followed by numerous other local recognitions.
His international awards include the Al-Bukhari Gold Medal from the Republic of Uzbekistan (2002) and first prize in plastic arts from the 7th Dubai Cultural Award for Creativity (2010/2011).