WATFA FAHMY MIDANI, of Pittsburgh, PA, passed peacefully on Sunday, May 8, 2022. She was 94 years old. Watfa and her late husband, Akram Midani, the retired Dean of the College of Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon University, came to Pittsburgh from New York in the early 1970's. Watfa was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt, and became a Naturalized American Citizen in March of 1973.
Watfa's love of color, bright, attention-getting color, was prominent in her work. She wanted it to stand out. Nature was, to her, living proof that life was well worth living each day. She valued the images of the life we innocently walk through each day – the birds, her beloved parrots, the flowers, her beautifully planted terrace garden pots each summer, the grass, the woods, the fish, growing, living things – that affirm the sustaining, loving hand of God. She was kind, loving, strong, and, as she was wont to say, a "survivor." Go in Peace, sweet Watfa!
Watfa spent her entire lifetime as a painter and sculptor. She studied at the Art Students League in New York and in Rome. She and her husband lived for many years in New York before coming to Pittsburgh in the early 1970's. In Pittsburgh, Mrs. Midani was an award winning artist from the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh. She received two Purchase Awards from the One Hundred Friends of Pittsburgh Art. As a result of these awards her work has been exhibited by the Pittsburgh Board of Education in various institutions of learning in Pittsburgh.
Watfa Midani was The Art Commissioner for The City of Pittsburgh from 1985 - 1987.
Watfa exhibited her works of painting and sculpture in numerous one-artist exhibits locally, nationally, and internationally. Among them: The Hewlett Gallery (Carnegie Mellon); Museum of Art (Carnegie Institute); Pittsburgh Plan for Art Gallery: Westmoreland Art Museum; several galleries in New York City.
She gave lecture demonstrations based on her work in places such as The Hillside Gallery in Tokyo, Japan (1984) and Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey. She exhibited in the Turkish American Association Gallery in Ankara, Turkey in 1990.
Her works are represented in private collections in many cities throughout the world: Beverly Hills, CA; Cairo, Egypt; Chicago, IL; Greensburg, PA; Damascus, Syria; Kuwait; Jerusalem, Israel; Los Angeles, CA; Miami, FL; Austin, TX; Mount Kisco, NY; Palm Beach, FL; Paris, FR; Philadelphia, PA; Williamstown, VA; Washington, D.C. and, of course, Pittsburgh, PA.
She also is represented in a number of Corporate Collections such as The Aluminum Corporation of America, Dansk International Designs; Ketchum Communications; United States Steel (USEX); Westinghouse Corporation; Pittsburgh Plate Glass Corporation and others.
By invitation, Mrs. Midani participated in Group Exhibitions such as the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh Annuals; International Play Group Artists '77 in New York; Art Student League of New York; Westmoreland County Museum; and the Loch Haven Gallery, Orlando, Florida. The Poetry on the Buses project of the Port Authority included Mrs. Midani as one of its artists.
ARTIST STATEMENT: "Color is my primary language. I express myself and celebrate my oriental background through it. These images come to me as if in dreams; most subconscious. I am fully aware of the fact that I don't project my heritage to simply express an ethnic situation. The humanity is my world; I have become the meeting ground of my Egyptian birth and my American Experience." Watfa Midani, 1980
Watfa's remains will be interred with those of her late husband, Akram Midani and casted as part of Eternal Reefs, Inc.(eternalreefs.com). This designation honors her wishes to return together with her husband to the sea and nurture the sea life that she depicted in much of her artwork.
Memorial Donations may be sent to:
P.E.A.R.L. (Parrot Education Adoption, Rehoming League). Her four Parrots were sent to a Foster program where they will be placed in forever homes educated in the keeping and maintaining the lives of parrots. It is a 501(C3) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Eternal Reefs, Inc. also a 501 (C3) @ eternalreefs.com
Arrangements entrusted to the Thomas L. Nied Funeral Home, Inc. 7441 Washington Street Swissvale.