Fri, 29 Sep 2023

by Mahmoud Fouly

CAIRO, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- An old, broken and rusty fork may be a waste for most people, but for Egyptian sculptor Ammar Shiha, it could be transformed into a wing of a bird or a tail of a fish in his creative artworks made of scrap metal.

In his house in Harraniya village, Giza province, Shiha displays in a large room a variety of his proud works -- scrap metal sculptures featuring humans, animals, fishes and birds.

One sculpture, made mostly from a scrap motorbike, was a man lying down on his abdomen and taking a photo with a camera.

Another work portrays a seated woman playing the harp. The lady is made from different pieces of scrap metal while the harp is originally a broken car door.

Shiha said while some people pay money to get rid of scrap metal, he pays money to get it.

"I use scrap spare parts of cars, motorbikes and bicycles, as well as the waste of iron, aluminum, copper and stainless steel," the Egyptian sculptor told Xinhua, adding that he also uses old bolts, nails, screwdrivers, washers, nuts and discs cutting machines in his works.

50-year-old Shiha, whose father was a painter, started this line of art in the late 1990s, after he was impressed and inspired by two statues of scrap metal displayed at the Museum of Modern Egyptian Art at Cairo Opera House, sculpted by a veteran Egyptian artist Salah Abdel-Karim, Egypt's pioneer in this type of art.

He started with sculpting a little rooster out of scrap metal and took it to an exhibition in Egypt, where the art piece won him an award and was appreciated and collected by the then culture minister.

Shiha said his works draw inspiration from the rural village he lives in, so many of his artworks feature farmers, vendors, and people playing traditional musical instruments or performing traditional dances, in addition to birds and animals.

Since the start of his scrap metal sculpting career, Shiha has participated in many groups and solo exhibitions in and outside Egypt, including exhibitions in France, Italy and Saudi Arabia.

Shiha is happy that his works could impress viewers regardless of their education or artistic backgrounds.

The clients interested in Shiha's works include Egyptians and foreigners who usually place them in hotels, tourist facilities, companies, government offices and sea resorts.

The largest artwork he created was eight meters high, which is currently installed at a square in the resort city of Marassi in Egypt's north coast, and the smallest was 12 centimeters.

Shiha said that he wants to change the negative perception of scrap metal and deliver a message through his works that scrap metal can be used to create something positive, useful and beautiful.

"The same pieces of scrap metal, which are negatively viewed if thrown in the street, can be used in creating a statue that beautifies the same street," the scrap metal sculptor told Xinhua.

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