Sculptor Sam Shendi has firmly established himself as an artist to watch on the global art radar. Now a resident in London, Shendi has garnered a following of collectors and art aficionados across the world. We caught up with him during a recent visit to Cairo.
CWM: As a young artist from a small Egyptian Delta town, did your dreams ever extend to the success you have realized internationally?
SS: As a young artist, I never thought that a career in art would be in my future. It’s very difficult for a young artist to make a living immediately after graduation in any country in the world.
Have you found it easier to gain recognition for your work since moving to the UK? What was your springboard?
It has been a very tough journey for me, especially at the beginning of my move to the UK. The international art platform always searches for artists with a distinct identity. So, it was important for me to discover myself before introducing my work to the art world.
After ten years, I found identity in my work and created an initial body of work; only then could I present myself as an independent artist and only then did I start to be recognized.
The journey wasn’t easy and it was important for me to try hard and to fail in order to understand who I am and what I want to do.
How would you describe the development of your distinctive style, what served as your initial inspiration?
My work is my visual diary, inspired by my own experience and observing the experience of others around me. This has allowed me to understand the similarities between us and has made it easier for me to be inspired by my own life.
What are your thoughts on the local art scene in Egypt, do you see it progressing and offering better opportunities for up-and-coming artists?
The Egyptian art scene is no different from any art scene around the world. However, I think the art movement has progressed a lot since I left Egypt, it has achieved something that the whole world has begun to recognize; that talent is important regardless of being art-educated or not.
Museums and galleries here have started opening their arms to talented artists who are self -taught and this is one of the most amazing opportunities for young artists to allow themselves to shine in the Egyptian art world.
They are accepted and allowed to have a platform that will support them and encourage them and this is something fantastic to see and observe at the moment in Egypt.
What are your plans, personally and creatively for the coming couple of years?
I’m an artist with many styles and I believe every idea comes with its own form, and shape. I hope that I will be able to share my thoughts and my philosophy with other Egyptian artists and inspire others to believe that your identity and your authenticity is your mark, whichever country and time you are living in.