Artist Mo El-Kadey celebrates his new life in St Leonards with new exhibition
It’s proving to be the most fantastic decision he’s ever taken.
Since moving to St Leonards, British Egyptian abstract expressionist painter Mo El-Kadey has created ten pieces of art. Before that, in a year and a half in London, he came up with just 30 pieces.
“It is incredibly inspiring here,” says Mo who moved to St Leonards in August.
“It has been a fantastic experience. I am surrounded by lots of artists, and every day I do my usual walk, and every time I discover some new ideas.
“It is a very, very inspiring place to be. Sitting on the beach reading just turns the words into visions, and the visions become art.”
Through his business background, as Mo says, he knows it is very “important to execute ideas quickly” – and so he is staging his debut exhibition in the area.
Vol 4 of The Moman Show Reborn will take you “through my personal journey in art created since relocating from London to St Leonards, sharing space with other artistic talents at the coolest, trendiest place in town, Goodman’s Barber, Tattoo and Coffee Shop, 48 Marine Parade, St Leonards.”
The show will be on the evenings of Friday, September 25 and Saturday, September 26 from 7pm-9pm.
With COVID guidelines in place, Mo is asking people to book in advance via [email protected] or via Facebook. All works are for sale, and hair and tattoo appointments may be made on the night.
“My background is in business development,” Mo says. “I worked in the fitness business, and about a year and a half ago, I had had enough and I decided to follow my dream to become an artist.
“I wasn’t happy. I was completely wrapped up in a world that was a cycle, a rat race about how much money you could make. It was just a cycle of doing the same thing over and over again, and I was really good at it, but I didn’t feel that it was fulfilling my ambitions.
“So I decided to become an artist. I had been doing it all my life. My family back home is full of artists.”
As a child, back home in Cairo, Mo used to watch his uncle, Samah Saied, a renowned impressionist artist, and credits this experience as being influential on his desire to create beautiful stories through art.
“But being a middle-class Egyptian family, I didn’t really have a choice to do what I wanted. Your family choose for you, and that’s why I followed business.
“I moved here in 2007. My ex-wife got an offer of a job in London, and we applied and got accepted. And then I studied sports here and I started my fitness business which had been really successful until Brexit happened.”
Art is the focus now: “I did three exhibitions, all organised by me, and then we had the lockdown. But it was a really good chance to think about what I wanted to achieve with my art, to think who I wanted to be surrounded with.
“I wanted to move to Cornwall or Scotland, but I have got two children with my ex-wife… It was too far.
“But then a friend of mine suggested Hastings and I came here for the day and fell in love with the place.”
Growing up in Cairo, surrounded by the family textile business, Mo says, has influenced his choice of vivid colours in his art, representing a vibrant mix of lights, shapes and forms that create paintings of pure thought and emotions in reflection.
He says his distinctive personal style emanates joy, struggle and peace by expressing a bold vibrant spirit and “the atmosphere of (his) soul”, always painting on a black background as this is exactly how the images are seen in his mind.