Egyptian artist Ayman Fayez finds his mission in icons

(NCR Online) Ayman Fayez’s mission recently led him 6,000 miles from his home in Egypt to a gallery in Manhattan’s East Village.

Though not a missionary in the traditional sense, the Coptic Catholic iconographer was there “transmitting God’s messages … through art,” and serving as an important reminder of Egypt’s diverse cultural and religious heritage.

“Not everyone knows there are Christians in Egypt, or they think that the Christians were originally Muslims and converted,” said the 47-year-old artist, who, like all Egyptian Copts, traces his Christianity all the way back to St. Mark the Apostle.

“Then they look at the paintings … and begin to understand,” Fayez told NCR from inside the Sheen Center, an art complex affiliated with the New York archdiocese where his icons and other religious-based art were on display throughout the month of December.

He was born in the Upper Egyptian city of Tahta, considered a Catholic stronghold, “because that is where the most Copts converted to Catholicism” from Orthodox Christianity, under the influence of European colonial powers beginning in the early 18th century, Fayez explained. [More]

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NCR Online