Yasser Rostom

Yasser Rostom Surrealism Painting - Egyptian Artist

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Yasser Rostom Surrealism Painting - Egyptian Artist

I’m a surrealist caricature who came from Egypt. I quickly gaining a reputation for being ‘the Egyptian Dali ‘a current master of surrealism ,drawing imagery that is blend of ancient and modern to compose something entirely surreal , a lover of pen and ink impeccable technique magnify the glory and mystique of my subjects & my solid contrasting backgrounds serve the often bizarre messages of me as an artist who makes his subjects appear as if out of nowhere the themes of humanity ,myth ,power and animals.

If you look at a drawing, which is that silent poetry, you will find the truth marked for you.
Sheikh Mohammed Abduh (March 18, 1904)

As we reflect on the fifth anniversary of a defining moment in our history, Cairo-based surrealist painter Yasser Rostom sheds light on different aspects of the current geopolitical events. Featuring a new body of work in Doves and Crows, Rostom mixes literalism with symbolism to create layers of meanings and accentuate the ills afflicting the region and the hopes that could salvage the peoples.

To an artist born in 1971, the Arab Spring, a term that inspired hope and change, provides the space to rethink our national identity/identities and ponder on what might come next. Using symbols from his studies in ancient Egyptian art, personified animals, and iconic visuals from neighboring countries, Rostom constructs a witty and surreal socio-political tale in search of answers.

To millions, the defenseless doves are a symbol of peace. On the other hand, the cunning crow is the symbol of the dark and terrible night or the necessary opponent. The dove and the crow, two birds adopted as icons of peace and power, appear on Rostom’s intricate works on paper and reveal his paranoiac-critical method of decoding the present for greater artistic creativity.
In our continued quest for peace and religious tolerance, Yasser Rostom reminds us of the confused state in which hope and despair seem to blur. In honoring one of the founders of Egyptian Surrealism of the 1940s, Rostom stays true to Ramses Younan’s statement that art presents itself as the means to liberate the nation.

Commonly referred to as ‘the Egyptian Dali,’ Rostom creates an invigorating contemporary euphoria with a phantasmagoric atmosphere. A master of pen and ink technique, he draws his whimsical figures in surreal backgrounds to convey subtle or blunt messages. His impressive historical mixture of icons and symbols on paper challenges the mind with a critical view of our world. Combining his Pharaonic roots with themes about myth, power, mankind, and animals make his work powerful, food for thought, and surrealistically unforgettable.

Surrealism is me,” says artist Yasser Rostom, the motifs, myths and symbols are represented in the form of powerful and well-centered protagonists. A way for the artist to provide a play of contrasts between the eternal and the lived, the sweet and the powerful, the human and the animal, the East and the West, the sacred and the carnal, calm and eventful, classical and folk, dream and reality, a surrealistic interpretation of a realistic world and “incredibly decadent nowadays”, according to Rostom. An emotional art, mirror of a “turbulent” sociopolitical environment, not without irony of irreverence and derision. Like the undisputed master of surrealism, Salvador Dali, Rostom offers the receiver of his art a vast field of imagination as a weapon of protest.

The base of this bridge is the very tree of life that all humans have come from. At the center of this tree of life are Adam and Eve. The branches coming out of the tree represent those of all religions (whether known and declared like Islam, Christianity and Judaism, or unknown religions which are represented by the empty branch).

Whatever our religion, we are all seeking the light, the Divine Being or God. I have been inspired in this part by Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam”.

The love between Adam and Eve is not a love out of choice but a love out of need. They need each other to survive. They are both part of the same tree. In the painting they are each covering the other’s genitals. They are protecting each other. Like Adam and Eve, all humans need each other. With all our faults and differences, we need each other to survive.

The black background at the top of the painting represents my extreme sadness at the current situation of the world, and all the wars and atrocities committed in the name of religion. That was also the chief reason that I chose to do the painting in black and white.

yasser rostom surrealism egypt painting art
Yasser Rostom Surrealism Egyptian Artist


Elementary, secondary, and high school in Victoria College – Cairo – Egypt 1974 -1990
Graduated from Helwan University – Faculty of Art Education – Cairo – Egypt 1991 – 1996
Art director assistant in Egypt TV [specialized channels – family & child] 1996 – 1997
Art director assistant in many other businesses.

More than 30 Solo exhibitions in Cairo Egypt
And participate in more than 25 exhibition in Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, London, New York, Dubai, Chicago, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Washington, Los Angeles.