Another day, another Google Doodle – however this one celebrates a feminism painter who pushed the limits of being Egyptian – Inji Aflatoun.
The doodle denotes the Egyptian painter’s 95th birthday celebration, and exhibits Aflatoun before her canvas alongside noteworthy works in her distinct painting style behind her.
For those unaware, Inji Aflatoun was born back in 1924, to a wealthy family who lived in Cairo’s French-talking aristocracy. Her mom become her first case of feminism, in the wake of opening Cairo’s first-ever tailoring shop that was run and owned by a woman. Aflatoun received strict catholic education, before in the long run moving to French Lychee in Cairo (where she became well-versed in Marxism).
She started painting at an early age – only 15-years old – however her work was immediately taken note. She took clases with Kamel el-Telmissany – one of Egypt’s best-known representatives of Egyptian surrealism. It was el-Telmissany who would introduce Aflatoun to ‘Art et Liberte’ or the ‘Art and Freedom’ movement. The movement included a group or artists and intellectuals of communist orientation, who used surrealism as an outlet to protest the imperialist government.
Aflatoun was one of the first women to study in the workmanship branch of the University of Cairo – and in 1945 participated in the formation of the ‘ligue des jeunes femmes des colleges et institutes’ (the League of young women in universities and institutes), which promoted left-wing anti-colonialist politics. The group also campaigned heavily for gender equality.
The painter likewise worked quickly as a teacher and a journalist, where she published several manifestos calling for the end of the imperial government. Herself – along with a small group of women intellectuals and militants – continued to participate in a number of activities both in Egypt and Europe to help bolster women’s rights and peace.