Born and raised in Alexandria, Egypt, Dr. Ahmed Mohamed Farid was raised in an artistic household with two siblings, and a family who nourished his love and passion for the arts. After graduating high school, Farid completed his Bachelor of Arts Degree, Graphic section, at the Alexandria University. In 2008, Farid obtained his Master’s Degree in Fine Arts and Symbols, with Honors, also at the Alexandria University. In 2014, he successfully completed a Ph.D. in the Philosophy of Art, at the Academy of Art in San Francisco.
Since his early years, Farid genuinely had a passion for the arts. He was invited to three consecutive annual events at the Society of Arts in France. In 1991, Farid also began his involvement in charity work where he participated in local and global events addressing humanitarian issues. Farid represented Egypt at the Exhibitions for the Protection of the Handicap, and Protection of Children and Women from the Horrors of Wars held in Switzerland in 1991 and 1994 respectively.
Farid’s participation in the dramatic arts was a continuation of his creative experience and not far from his passion for visual arts. His work in visual arts began in a static form in his paintings and turned to reality expressed in his drama work. By entering the world of drama, he experienced various human emotions which reflected the lives of fictional figures but yet existed in real life. As such, this further enhanced his knowledge of the human soul which still is the basic theme behind his artistic portfolio.
A Rising Star
Farid’s acting career started in 2010 when he became a TV announcer at the Nile Cinema channel for programs which complemented his career in the visual arts. He hosted interviews with international celebrities including Keanu Reeves, Eva Mendez, John Malkovich to name a few, as well as some of the most prominent international directors including Francis Ford Coppola. In 2010, Farid’s acting career soared when he accepted an acting role in a series called “Ahl Cairo”; in 2013, he acted in the series “Ism Moaqat”; in 2015, “Mawlana Al Asheq”, “Oreedo Ragolan”, and “Al Saalouk”.
While starring in the Arabic version of “Ugly Betty”, “Heba Regl El Ghorab” in 2016 and 2017, he was also holding a solo art exhibition at the Nile Gallery of Cairo under the concept of “Life is Hope, Light, and Freedom”. In 2017, Farid held more solo exhibitions at the Picasso Hall in Zamalek, Egypt under the concept of “I am the Universe”, Alexander Rubtsov in Tunisia under the concept of “The Eye is the Gate of the Soul”, The Workshop Art Gallery in Dubai under the concept of “The Universe Between Light and Freedom”. And most recently, while acting in the Arabic version of “Drop Dead Diva”, “Tel’et Rohi”, in 2018 Farid held two solo exhibitions; “The Soul mate” at Al Kahila Art Gallery in Egypt, and “Fruit de 50 Ans D’immigration” at Place Saint-Denis in Brussels, Belgium.
The events of the Egyptian Revolution in 2011 were very reflective of the spirit of art inside Farid. He produced a documentary film about the Egyptian Revolution which won the TV award from citizenTV.com. Later in 2012, Farid participated in the “Revolution” Exhibition in Manhattan, New York which covered the Egyptian Revolution. Farid believes the real revolution is internal and is the source of our raging spirits against restrictions, but is also the underlying force that compels us to find happiness and access to freedom.
Philosophy and Technique in the Arts
“Everybody carries their own flower, light, and bird within” are Farid’s thoughts which open the door for us to view and analyze his work. The use of birds in Farid’s paintings is very predominant as it symbolizes freedom and the desire to unleash. The lights of knowledge that fill his paintings urge the observers to search within themselves and their lives. Flowers symbolize hope. The soul, Farid’s core artistic concern, opens its largest and most reflective windows, the eye. The eye represents the hero in most of his artwork as he sees it as a gate. It expresses the human state whether confused, lurking, or speaking out the secrets of their respective owners.
Sad, anticipating eyes, dying flowers of hope, and birds of freedom, are out challenging love and life. “The eye is the window to one’s soul”, says Farid, “through which inner souls are revealed”. And although they are screaming in anticipation, they are insightful to the unknown future.
The small faces on the bodies of birds reveal a spiritual profile and remind us of the “Ba” in ancient Egypt. The “Ba” is a state of reaching the peak of our consciousness which is only accessible when you disrupt the work of physical senses. This happens in the case of death as well as deep meditation. The “Ba” is always trying to get to heaven, to the world of spirits and serenity. These birds with faces are looking at Farid’s figures waiting for a change. In some paintings they offer them hope in a flower, as if urging them to look at their souls and find their full potential.
Farid’s colors, blue-yellow-red, are essential, authentic, and few but urge new beginnings as the three essential colors are the base of any hue. He colors flowers and lights of knowledge as they are symbols of hope and knowledge. Anyone who wants to create a new color (new life) will start with these basic colors in his/her own way, as if telling the figures “you should start from here, the basics, and not anywhere else”.
Birds are hovering about in paintings around anxious figures urging them to go for the changes in their horizons. Farid’s static figures express inertia and inability to change despite all what lies in their world of reasons for transformation. Then come the other elements, flowers, birds, lights of knowledge, to fight fear and call for love and freedom. “I want my work to inspire people to connect with themselves. Many people are losing their sense of inner strength and fail to see the torch that will show them the turning point in life. Many people only know their first layer, and they would never discover the inherent power in their lives”.
The exhibition “I am the Universe” provided an experience illustrating the universe around us and within us, and how we are part of it as a whole yet it all lies within us. The noise and silence of the universe, its colors, and its many eyes that fill up life. The energy which drives us forward and the energy that beats us. While the concept of “the eye is the window to the soul” dominates the work of Farid, it also confirms that the cosmic energy of the universe radiates from the eye. Some of his figures carry large eyes out of their heads in defiance of the outline of the face, and some of them radiate their cosmic energy and fill the void in many semi-circular motions forming other eyes. The world lies here, in each eye hovering and filling the soul. Some eyes launch serene energies while others launch noisy energies.
Farid and His Community
Through his hard work and dedication, Farid obtained numerous awards, honors, and certificates for his art and thoughts on the practice of social art. He was also nominated as the United Nations Ambassador for Goodwill in 2014. Farid continued his community work through a peer program where creative workshops were set up in disastrous areas of the world, such as Jordan, for young Syrian refugees to express themselves via arts. Farid believes “if we want to engage young people on health and lifestyle issues that affect them, we need to be where they are; sharing information through platforms such as the medium of Art, so they can express their deep issues while building real life skills”. His acting and art careers have continuously intertwined throughout his journey as per his detailed résumé.