Nostalgic Glimpses of a Bygone Era is an exhibition of paintings by Camille Fox, a Jewish artist who was born in the “golden era” in Alexandria, Egypt.
Camille has childhood memories of a charmed life in Egypt, with lavish children’s birthday parties, Baby Dior clothes bought in Paris by a Great Aunt, summers spent by the beach in Alexandria in a private cabin, and afternoon tea at the Cecil Hotel. She recalls memories of Mohammad, their ‘bawab’, who used to walk her to school; the annual flower show at the San Stefano Casino, women pushing prams in the park, matinees at La Gaite Cinema, visiting her grandfather at his textile store in Anfushi, men smoking the shisha, her grandmother sipping sweet black coffee in fine English porcelain cups and nibbling cakes in Alexandria’s finest tea rooms.
These colourful subjects are the spirit of her artworks.
Camille sees herself as a story teller, conceiving stories through a lens of good memories of this bygone time. They start as drawings, where she concentrates on composition and relationships between the characters. These drawings find their way on to the canvas as an enchanted journey of vibrant colours and humourous whimsical narrative, depicting an ongoing connection to Egypt.
The exhibition accompanies Jews from Islamic Lands, an exhibition that tells the stories of flourishing, coexistence, displacement and resilience of the Jews from twenty Islamic lands who found their way to Australia.
Image: The Walk to School with Mohamed on a rainy morning in Alexandria, Camille Fox. Private Collection.