Samir Rafi, Les Hommes Dans Le Désert [Men in the Desert], 1950s, Oil on Board, 60 x 40 cm
Courtesy of Kanafani Art Gallery
Founded in 2019, Kanafani Gallery is a Cairo-based artist’s estate management gallery. The first in Egypt to offer professional support to heirs, Kanafani Gallery specializes in developing posthumous interest in an artist’s work, ensuring a lasting legacy.
Combined with our expertise in modern Egyptian art history and extensive archive, we provide robust academic research, authentication, valuation, archival and inventory management, exhibition, up to placement of works, through acquisitions or loans, in private, institutional and museum collections.
Emma Caly Ayad
Mariam Abdel Aleem
Born in the Sakkakini district in Cairo on 15 August 1926, Samir Rafi was a painter, sculptor, arts educator and author. A prodigious trendsetter who broke boundaries with visual innovations that linked Egyptian imagery with the human subconscious, he began his career in Egypt in the midst of World War II producing works depicting ordinary daily life, that were far ahead of his time. This explains why the “Cairo Years” between 1942 and 1954 are generally considered the high point of his career.
Driven by the hope to achieve international recognition, Rafi however left Egypt at the peak of his career in June 1954, moving to Paris and remained abroad until his death in 2006. His work shows signs of melancholy and homesickness, as Rafi repeatedly exploited his style and themes throughout the remainder of his life.
Scattered around the world and divided in two periods: Egypt until 1954 and post-Egypt, his exceptionally prolific production easily exceeds thousands of paintings using different media, (lost) objects and sculptures, drawings, collage, sketchbooks and tapestries, and invites a deeper examination into folk surrealism to seal Rafi into the historical art cannon.