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Ibrahim Said

Artist's Work

Globe Rabbit

    Work introduction

    My interests lie in expanding on forms and principles rooted in my culture: namely ancient Egyptian pottery and Islamic arts. Through bridging the languages of function and sculpture, I hope to conjure stories about rituals, memorializing, and cultural proverbs, that feel both ancient and currently relevant.

    Through geometry, the basis of Islamic art, it is possible to explore ideas about perfection, order, and infinity that I find powerful and humbling.

    The vase forms that inspire me are from the Naqada III period in Egypt from 3200-3000 BCE. The strong lines and bold shapes of that period in particular are my favorite. Their delicate finials and small bases embody an elegance and strength that are still unmatched for me.


    My carvings are inspired by artifacts of water jug filters made between 900-1200 ACE in Fustat, Egypt. Although the carved designs were made for functional reasons, to filter out river sediment, the beauty of geometric, floral, and animal designs are prevalent in Islamic Arts and adorned many day-to-day objects. But what was particularly poetic about them was that only those drinking could see the designs: it embodied a principle emphasizing inner beauty rather than the external and emphasized an individual contemplative experience. Searching for ways to bring these ancient carvings and their narratives back to life has become one of my artistic challenges- I always want my work to feel Egyptian and build on that rich cultural history.


    In the past ten years I have incorporated both wheel throwing and hand-building techniques into each piece giving particular attention to finials, surface carvings, and glaze color. The construction and engineering of them has become more complicated, pushing the material to its limit, and trying to invent new forms. I believe the act of making is in itself an act of devotion and meditation to the beauty present and possible in the world. I believe art is a testimony to what needs to be remembered, known, and held onto.

    Artist Biography

    From the narrow streets, pottery ovens, and noisy workshops of Fustat, Ibrahim Said was born in 1976. Fustat is an area in Cairo, Egypt that has etched its name in the history of the pottery industry since the Islamic conquest.  Ibrahim’s father became his first teacher and the rich cultural heritage of Egypt his second.  

    His interests lie in expanding on forms and principles rooted in his culture: namely ancient Egyptian pottery and Islamic art and architecture. Known for his elegant vases that are included in some prestigious Middle East collections, Ibrahim’s work is inspired by the ancient work of Egyptians- the strong lines and bold shapes- although his signature work embodies a lightness that comes from his silhouettes, small bases, and delicate finials.

    His carvings are derived from Islamic jug filter designs, which were both functional and aesthetic. The carved area in the neck of the jug filtered out impurities when water was collected in the Nile. Ibrahim wanted to find a way to bring these ancient carvings back to life while somehow maintaining their history.

    He has participated in workshops and demonstrations throughout the Middle East and the United States, and has been highly recognized for his technical ability, creativity, and innovation in the field of ceramics. His work is included in the Victoria and Albert Museum in the UK, National Museum of Scotland, Mint Museum in the USA, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts in the USA, Bait al Baranda Museum in Oman, Museum of Modern Art in Cairo, Egypt, and the Center of Islamic Art in Kuwait, and in numerous private collections.

    He lives and works between Greensboro, North Carolina and Cairo, Egypt.