In the early 1930s, when Amy Nimr returned to Egypt after studying painting in England and exhibiting alongside British and French Surrealists, she found Cairo caught up in a new wave of artistic ferment that led to the foundation of the Art et Liberté group in 1938. Her cosmopolitan background and many contacts with European artists gave her a key role in spreading the Surrealist approach among the members of the Egyptian avant-garde. In keeping with the movement’s confrontational 1938 manifesto Long Live Degenerate Art, her works portray an unsettling universe. Untitled (Fish and Skeletons) (1936) and Untitled (Underwater Skeleton) (1942) show human skeletons blurring into the bluish shadows of the underwater world, as sinister-looking fish and plants seem to feed on the scraps of flesh that still cling to their bones. All of the natural elements are depicted with extreme precision, as if in a bestiary or herbarium. In 1943, after a landmine killed Nimr’s eight-year-old son and the Suez Crisis of 1956 forced her to leave Egypt for Paris, she sought refuge in an introspective imaginary that grew even cruder and more visceral; a cathartic tool for easing the burdens of her tragic life and attaining the freedom that the Egyptian Surrealists valued so deeply.