Primordial Memories, 2020-2021
Embroidery on car filter fabric
45 x 39 cm
Huda Lutfi presents a body of work comprised of minimalist compositions embroidered and sewn by hand. The artist started improvising with thread on used organza teabags as a quiet domestic exercise that eventually took on a much larger scale and sense of urgency. She creates compositions out of the smaller elements and uses a gentle palette of black, white, grey and off-white. The delicacy of her materials results in silent notes of movement and lines, and the geometric shapes that seem deliberate are part of a meditative trajectory of chance.
Lutfi’s practice has been sensitive to a loud political climate. Moving between metaphorical and literal visualizations, her work has been playful, subversive and at times equally as brutal as the conditions it reacts to. Bodies were deconstructed, reproduced, frozen, and ornamental; they reenacted layers of social and political transformations in her urban context of Cairo. The artist re-appropriates discarded objects, elements from a boisterous street culture, and political allusions into her particular narratives. In parallel to her interest in materiality, a continuous meditative undercurrent is inspired by her early personal interest in Sufi practice and culture. These themes of permanence, the use of repetition and the perpetuated typologies in Lutfi’s works are compelling statements on the indiscernibility and multiplicity of our realities.
Huda Lutfi (b. Cairo, 1947) is a cultural, gender historian by professional training whose work in the field of the visual arts translates these affiliations in multiple complex ways. In 1983, she received her PhD in Arab Muslim Cultural History from McGill University, Montreal, Canada. A self-trained artist, Lutfi, began her practice during the mid-1990s, amid the rise of an independent art scene and the establishment of a number of influential art institutions. In 2012, a self-titled monograph on Huda Lutfi was published by The Third Line. Her work is part of major collections including: Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles, USA; Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE; Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman, Jordan; Circustheater Foundation, Hague, Netherlands; The American University in Cairo; Egypt and The British Museum, London, UK. The World Bank, Egypt. Muscarelle Museum of Art, Virginia, USA; Indianapolis Museum, Indianapolis, USA. Margueitte Hoffman Art Collection, Texas, USA.