Inji Aflatoun, one of Egypt’s best-known painters and a leading feminist, was honored today with a Google Doodle to celebrate what might have been her 95th birthday celebration.
The doodle features Aflatoun before her canvas of surrealist and cubist paintings, which led critics to consider her a “pioneer of modern Egyptian art,” as per Google’s portrayal of the creative talent.
Aflatoun was conceived in Cairo in 1924 to a Muslim family that she depicted was “semi-feudal and bourgeois” — her dad, Hazzan, was an entomologist who established the entomology branch of Cairo University beside being the dignitary of the science faulty; her mom Salha, in the interim, was a French-trained dress-designer who served in the ladies’ council of the Egyptian Red Crescent Society.
Under the mentorship of her private art tutor, Kamel Al-Timisani, Aflatoun was acquainted with surrealist and cubist aesthetics.
Aflatoun was likewise drawn into the feminist movement, joining Iskra – a Communist youth party – in 1942, and turning into a founding member of the League of University and Institutes’ Young Women in 1945 and speaking to the class amid that year at the first conference of Women’s International Democratic Federation in Paris.
She additionally composed two political pamphlets — “Eighty Million Women with Us” in 1948 and “We Egyptian Women” in 1949 — which intensely attacked class and gender oppression, mainly because of British rule.
She was arrested and imprisoned by Gamal Abdel Nasser’s government during a round-up of communists in the mid-50s, and since her release in 1963 devoted her time to painting.