Memories of an Asphalt Road

In Memories of an Asphalt Road, Mohamed Adel Dessouki presents a series of graphite figure drawings from a unique vantage point of a bird’s-eye-view. His portraits of passersby, as they walk the pavements of Alexandria, are an invitation to slow down, connect, and honor the details of daily life. They are fleeting moments captured and expanded. The people may be long gone, but the artist spends way more time with them to listen and retell their stories faithfully.

True to scale and hyperrealistic with their detail, the drawings surpass their function as documentation, and rise to celebrate the beauty of the mundane. The attention the artist gives his subjects extends the invitation for viewers to do the same and connect with them as he did.

With their faces concealed, the subjects hold their space and maintain their privacy as they offer hints into their lives that we can see in the specifics; a familiar sweater, a grocery bag, well-worked hands. Dessouki allows us to identify with these subjects, creating a sense of solidarity. The artist’s positioning is both distant and engaged. He cultivates a certain type of empathy with the subjects that is free from personal projections, being simultaneously attentive and restrained.

In the absence of color, the focus on form and substance is amplified. It lends a poeticism to their movement, as they glide like spirits in a white vacuum.

Like architectural drawings (orthographic projections), the top view is an ode to the artist’s background in architecture. But unlike blueprints where people are merely used for scale reference, here they take center stage.