Ibrahim Said is a ceramic artist from the Fustat area of Cairo, Egypt, who currently lives and works in Greensboro. Fustat is historically known for its pottery industry. Ibrahim comes from a family of potters, with his father being his first teacher. He is inspired by the strong lines and bold shapes of ancient Egyptian works. Ibrahim's carvings are derived from Islamic jug filter designs, which were both functional and aesthetic. He holds a Diploma of Technical School, Cairo and his work is featured in collections and exhibitions throughout the world. Ibrahim was a STARworks Clay Studio Resident in 2015.
In the tenth to twelfth centuries, an area including present-day Algeria, Tunisia, Sicily, Egypt and Syria came under the rule of the Fatimid Dynasty (909 - 1171). The Fatimid rulers traced decent from Muhammad's daughter, Fatima. The opulence of the Fatimid court fueled a renaissance in the decorative arts, which made Cairo the most important cultural center in the Islamic world. Nearby, Old Cairo, known as Fustat, became a major center for the production of pottery, glass and metalwork. Fatimid artists created new decorative motifs and made greater use of figural forms, both human and animal. Figures were stylized but lively, while traditional vegetal and geometric decorations maintained their abstract quality.
Jugs often featured built-in filters within the neck of the jug to filter impurities from the Nile River. The jug filter during the Fatimid era featured beautiful floral, geometric, organic and calligraphic patterns. Given their fragility, few unglazed ceramic water vessels produced in Fatimid, Egypt survive intact. However, a huge number of fragments were found during excavations of Fustat in the 19th Century. Ibrahim researched these filters and incorporated their patterns into his forms. This combination forges innovative relationships between form and space.
*Top photo by Joe Lipka