Mostafa Darwish immigrated to the United States from Egypt and is currently based in Philadelphia. He graduated in 2016 from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts with a bachelor’s degree and certificate of fine arts in painting. There he was distinguished with the Faculty Award for outstanding growth and community involvement, and awarded other academic awards. In the most recent years, Mostafa has been a curator, where he curated multiple emerging artists, group exhibitions, and projects. In 2019, he founded the “Codex Project”, which displays 20 artist art books annually in galleries. Mostafa is a recent awardee of the “New Mary Butler Purchase Award” in 2020, as he becomes the first Egyptian – American artist, to have his work purchased and becoming a part of the Pennsylvania Academy of fine arts museum permanent collection. Mostafa won multiple awards, grants and residencies throughout his career in art, most notable being awarded the residency at WASSAIC in 2019, Vermont Studio Center residency in 2018, and the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation grant in 2018. Mostafa’s current work focuses on bringing his own experience of a different culture and exposure into a western environment, contrasting both East and West together to draw attention to political, cultural, and societal dissidence. Mostafa’s mediums vary from experimental gouache and inks on paper, academic and classical oil paintings, to sound and music-based video art, and installation art.
I use my life experience , identity, and memories to highlight societal and cultural misconceptions within different societies I have lived in. Using perspectives from different cultures – like commonly held beliefs in Egypt or Middle east, and comparing them to those I have observed and lived through in the United States – results in an evident similarity of cultural issues regardless of how different each Western or Eastern societies are. I try to draw attention to political, cultural and societal dissidence, by proposing my work to the audience and providing intractability with my art in different forms.
"My immigration from Egypt to the United States has impacted my understanding of my heritage and cultural context. Religious, political, cultural, and racial misconceptions are perpetuated in my culture generationally. Seems to me, most if not all societies are exploited by excessive political propaganda, and hyperbole, whether through media or false idealistic facts embedded within the culture. Furthermore, this has led to xenophobia and other exploitations of foreign societal or cultural believes within societies. Metaphorically speaking; I would represent my heritage culture as a box, anyone who crosses the boundary of conventionality will be labeled deviant. Where I least expected it, I found similar misconceptions in the first world country I moved to. I concluded that the only difference between one culture to another is how much bigger the size of that metaphorical box is."
~ Mostafa Darwish