For many people, Ancient Egypt is the land of pharaohs, mighty kings and a majestic unmatched civilization. But for me, it is the land of healers, both kings and laymen.
My name is Dina Shalaby and Malakoot is my art & storytelling project inspired by Ancient Egypt.
The story of Ancient Egypt is one that I seek rather than one that I tell. I like to think of it as a long trail, and every time I make a step, it unfolds even more. And the more I walk its walk, the more peace I find and heal.
I follow its traces in its art and scripture. Sometimes my encounters with ancient Egypt are a vigorous handshake and some other times they are as subtle as a breeze, yet every time they are transformative. Often times I am their mirror, some other times I am their voice but every time they are my oracle.
I hope these feelings make their way to the eyes and hands that meet my art pieces. I hope every time they look at them, their spirit feels lighter, deeper, happier. I hope it gives them a moment of respite, connects them to the deeper meanings they are seeking, and evokes a space of peace they long for.
I also hope it gives them a spark, an insight, an inspiration, a story that can be part of their reference points as they move through their journey. I hope it delights them, stops time for a moment, immerses them in a sweet stillness full of life and love. Like the uni-verse that binds us all together, like a deep breath of very fresh air, like a breeze that stays.
Love matters. History matters. Knowledge matters. Wisdom matters. Beauty matters. Try to touch them all. I’m trying too, through my art.
Welcome to my Malakoot..
دينا شلبى فنانة تشكيلية تستوحى أعمالها الفنية من مصر القديمة فتاريخها وفنها وفلسفتها وروحانياتها وقيمها الأخلاقية هي شغفها الأكبر. تمزج الرسم بالتصوير والكتابة لتحيى قطعا فنية من مصر القديمة تضعها فى ثوب جديد. كل عمل فنى تنتجه تصحبه بقصة القطعة أو الفكرة المستوحى منها ودلالتها عبر الزمان والمكان.
تفرغت للفن منذ عدة سنوات بعد أن عملت فى مجال الاستشارات الادارية الدولية فى مصر و ايطاليا و أمريكا. أقيم أول معرض فردى لها بالقاهرة كما شاركت فى عدة معارض جماعية فى جاليرة نوت و فى جاليرى الاقصر (بنات النيل، نوفمبر 2019)
درست التصميم بالجامعة الامريكية. حاصلة على بكالريوس صحافة من جامعة القاهرة و ماجيستير فى إدارة الأعمال من إيطاليا.
The call for Malakoot, my art project, came to me a few years ago after I had spent more than a decade intensely pursuing success in education, career, travel and intellectual endeavors. I had studied journalism in Egypt, international business in Italy, worked in international management consulting in both countries and eventually in the US. It was a thrilling journey and looking back I wouldn’t change a thing except maybe for the unsustainable rhythm and intensity that came with it. The strive and the conditioning of modern life to achieve more, faster, better. To stay on top of your game. To be the center of your universe. To keep running and there, at the end of that race, happiness is waiting, wearing the hat of success and achievement. But at what price? Very likely a burnout.
I kept thinking to myself that there had to be another more balanced way to achieve that happiness and sense of fulfillment. I no longer could nor wanted to sustain that race and I felt the need for a deep change. Something was missing. I quit my job and, oh madness, I had no clear plan of what I would do next. I only knew I needed time and hopefully, a new soul. Immersing myself in art came as a natural answer, for art had always been my companion. The surprise though was that unexplainable urge to dive back into the art of Ancient Egypt and explore all its complex layers. Something was telling me that this is where I would find the answer I was looking for. Otherwise how could they have achieved all these puzzling material and spiritual feats and lasted for so long? With every piece of Ancient Egyptian art that I put on paper in a new light, the answer became clearer and clearer: yes, there was a different path to happiness and success and it’s the one Ancient Egyptians walked. And that was a story I wanted to tell.
The ancient Egyptian civilization has achieved what no other could, not even ours. Their architectural genius, for one, is still puzzling. But what was an even bigger achievement is the moral anchoring they developed and that guided their actions: a value system and a life model where balance was Law. Where living in harmony and being in touch with the inner self and the outside world were the measures of happiness, success and a person’s worth. I fell in love with their way, the depth of their perception and the elegance of how they expressed it all. How they achieved integrity by harmonizing opposites, substituting competition and conflict with complementarity and thus achieving the oneness of practicality and spirituality, the masculine and the feminine, love and wrath, intellect and intuition. How finely they understood the human psyche and addressed the core drivers of a human soul: the need for love and protection, the healing power of gratitude, the creative power of mind and intention. So many moving pieces, always in perfect harmony, singing the same song. Thousands of years have passed but everything about their philosophy feels as relevant as ever, so universal and timeless.
I have my answer now and a new soul. All the moving pieces of my story are in harmony now and sing the same song in my heart. I try to convey that through my art and celebrate the minds and hearts that led me to it. May we all find our answers!
Art is my temple, my sanity, my joy and my rest, especially when it takes me on a deep-dive into Ancient Egypt. All the pieces I make are inspired by the ancient history of my land, whether in the themes or the medium. For me, making art, exploring Ancient Egypt and storytelling are acts of discovery and transcendence.
I hope these feelings make their way to the eyes and hands that touch these pieces. I hope every time they look at them, their spirit feels lighter, deeper, happier. I hope it gives them a moment of respite, connects them to deeper meanings they are seeking , evokes a space of peace they long for.
I also hope it gives them a spark, an insight, an inspiration, a story that can be part of their reference points as they move through their journey. I hope it delights them, stops time for a moment, immerses them in a sweet stillness full of life and love. Like the uni-verse that binds us all together, like a deep breath of very fresh air, like a breeze that stays. Like the timelessness, universality and wonder of the Ancient Egyptian aesthetics.
Love matters. History matters. Truth matters. Knowledge matters. Wisdom matters. Beauty matters. Try to touch them all. I’m trying too, through my art.
Welcome to my MALAKOOT