In 1938, Egyptian-born Surrealist Laurent Marcel Salinas (1913 – 2010) signed the group manifesto Art et Liberté that denounced attempts to bind art to the political demands of the state. The signatories declared art a means to liberate society and the individual from the “artificial restrictions” of nationality, religion, and ethnicity. In Naissance (1944) Salinas’s choice of a disembodied and tentacled eye takes up a subject – the naked eyeball – frequently depicted by Surrealists in other locations as a surrogate for male castration anxieties. By the early 1950s, the Cairo group had begun to disband; following the coup in 1952 led by Mohamed Naguib and Gamal Abdel Nasser, Salinas fled to Paris.
Photographed in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.