Rouh Al-Shazli is a painter and sculptor. She attended the Interior Design Department, at the Faculty of Fine Arts, and painted at the nuns’ workshops, before she took interest in furniture design. She held many exhibitions, and worked alongside several leading artists. In the interview, she shared the milestones of her artistic career.
Rouh grew up in a family that consisted of her Turkish-born mother, her father, a brother who worked as an engineer, and a sister who attended school with her. Rouh joined the Mer de Dieu French School at first, but when her father became the Governor of Damanhur, she was enrolled in the boarding division of Notre Dame French School in Damanhur. She recalled that she loved the school system, and the boarding division in particular. Rouh highlighted that school education used to be much better in the past, even though the new generations had more freedom than she did in her time.
Rouh recounted that one of her classmates sent a letter to her father claiming that there were attempts to convert her into a nun. Her father eventually prevented her from going to school because of this letter. Her family then moved between the different neighborhoods in al-Mansoura. Rouh’s talent and love for painting emerged at a very young age, and her mother encouraged her to develop and practice her skills. She used to paint inside the nuns’ workshops in the cities of al-Mansoura and Damanhur.
Rouh got engaged to her husband, Dr. Hamed al-Haythami, who worked as a legal counsellor at the mixed courts, and earned his PhD from Paris. Rouh settled in Cairo after marriage, and had a boy and a girl. In Cairo, she worked with a furniture engineer on designing different types of furniture. Afterwards, she held many exhibitions, and some of the great artists, such as Salah Taher and Hussein Bekar, encouraged her to turn to portraiture. She started painting different portraits, and recalled that she painted three portraits of herself looking in the mirror. At the same time, Rouh developed an interest in sculpturing and copper work.
When her children became old enough to depend on themselves, Rouh decided to enroll in Leonardo da Vinci Institute of Art in Bulaq, and earned her certificate after six years. She then attended the Department of Interior Design, at the Faculty of Fine Arts, for six years. Rouh recounted that she bought the supplies and colors she used in her paintings from different countries. Besides her love for painting and art in general, she had an immense love for reading, especially novels, of all kinds, and also enjoyed attending the opera. Rouh was proud of her paintings, and of how hard she worked to fulfill her passion for art.