Ahmed Saber احمد صابر Juxtaposing the mundane with the surreal, Ahmed Saber’s hyperrealistic paintings are disorienting and powerful. His remarkable skill to beautifully render figures and environments down to the most minute details is fantastically impressive, but it’s his uncanny ability to shift us into an alternate reality full of bizarre and confusing manifestations that is so striking and uncomfortable. Ahmed’s artwork is very much like the visions of a disturbing dream, realistic but bizarre and completely unsettling. His most astounding works build on an ongoing narrative reflecting on life in rural Egypt, capturing commonplace scenes in the midst of the suq or along a village road in Luxor’s West Bank, featuring the diverse faces one encounters along the way, weary and worn, who seem to take little notice of anything out of the ordinary: an enormous suitcase and satchel impeding the way, or gigantic fish that appear on carts, plates, or floating above the people like balloons; miniaturized figures who seem like mere puppets; The Pieta surrounded by stacks of tires and swarms of cats and feline statuettes; landfills of computer and television sets contrasted with relics of the ancient past and amulets. Sometimes ambiguous, and often oppressive with metaphors contemplating the dissolution of spirituality, tradition, and community for the depravity of the modern era and desperate survival, Ahmed’s art is committed to being a critical voice in an uncertain and changing Egypt. —D.N.