Egyptian visual artist Khaled Hafez made his first appearance as a writer Wednesday in Cairo, signing his first release: two autobiographical works where he freezes moments of his life in the mid-90’s, reflecting and sardonically commenting on them also.
The books, which are accompanied with illustrations, cover a range of eight to nine years in Hafez’s life. The first volume is titled Safahat min Muzakirat Atil (Pages from a Diary of an Idler), and the second is titled Atil bi rubat Anuq wa Saa’t Sadr Zahabiya (Idler with a Necktie and a Gold Breast Watch).
The work comprises fragments of prose and line drawings by the author. They capture brief scenes and moments in the author’s life, loves and extensive travels.
“The book is textual exercises accompanied with illustrations that flow around the idea of a diary, yet I wouldn’t call what I wrote a diary; it’s more like an autobiography of an Egyptian character that lives in the mid-90s of the past century. That character is me,” Hafez explained.
The first book covers a range of nine months. It expresses condensed experiences at a certain moment and place. In the second text the author freezes certain moments that he witnessed and meditates on them.
“The Idler is a well educated cynic who actually 'worked' in different jobs — approximately eight jobs — to produce an artistic career. The Idler thinks deeply about the things happening around him,” Hafez said. “The Idler records his work experience during the period of nine years, in which he experienced many things, listened and saw many things that he deeply interacts with through observing and experiencing too,” Hafez added.
For Hafez, writing is an obsession just as painting; it happened to him with the same ease that he experienced the creation of film and video. “I wanted to tell stories and it was time to share them,” says Hafez.