Hend Samir: Water Gun Game

Feb 15 - Feb 19, 2023

Felix Los Angeles

Harkawik is pleased to announce our solo presentation with Egyptian painter Hend Samir, opening this Wed, Feb 15 at Felix Los Angeles. Titled Water Gun Game, Samir's latest body of work embraces a mid-size panoramic format that captures much of the energy of her monumental canvases. In these tall and wide paintings, figures peek out from branches, cabinets, fragments of architecture and vehicles, and swaths of kaleidoscopic unformed environmental matter—the hallmark of her unique process. Samir begins each painting by letting the work's marbled ground speak to her, pushing paint like the wind rippling through a cloud, until faces, bodies, and familiar forms emerge. Her focus on the lives of children and young adults serves to disarm the viewer and deepen her engagement with more worldly concerns. In these paintings, the boundaries between wonder and danger are hard to discern. In Little Mockers, a stormy cloud forms behind a lineup of children facing the viewer head-on, each holding an animal like a potential offering. Samir often introduces a monochromatic work as a sort of "palette cleanser," and here, in Trackless Train, a group of young people peer outward from a dazzling geyser of paint, while a hooded figure smiles menacingly in the distance. Shifting freely from works like Sneaking Back In and Night Foreplay, in which vignettes allow figures to explore interiors and quasi-domestic spaces, and the magnificent Melancholia at Sunset, a shimmering metallic apparition with no figure-ground relationship at all, Samir teaches us how to see, how to relate, how to remember, with each picture. The works that comprise Water Gun Game are perfectly situated within the interiors of the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, highlighting the domestic, theatrical, and narrative aspects of the work. Samir resists sentimentality, instead reminding us that, as we look back on our early lives, we are always looking through the lens of the present.

Hend Samir (b. 1986) is an Egyptian painter based in Amsterdam and Cairo. She recently completed a residency at the Rijksakademie Van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam, where she was the recipient of the Dutch Royal Award for Modern Painting, 2021. Her work has been exhibited extensively in the United States and abroad, and is held in several public collections, including the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, Rubell Museum, Miami, and The Bunker ArtSpace, West Palm Beach.