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Egyptian Visual Artist Opens Dahab's First Concept Store Fusing Art and Light

An explosion of light, colours, figures and shapes has taken over Dahab, supplying the bohemian stronghold with a much needed dose of je ne sais quoi!

I first spotted the store, Wickedicandy, a few weeks ago while promenading on the beachside boardwalk in Dahab. I caught a glimpse of an illuminating cosmic spectrum. To say the place is extraordinarily unique is an understatement. The lighting installed, all ultraviolet, completely transforms the space in a vivid explosion of color. I met with the owner, Ahmed Gooda, who is also the artist and maker.We discussed the artwork and his idea behind the concept store. He developed a central theme and the details, interior, products, and lighting brought it to life. To Gooda, Wickedicandy is “handmade art that flirts with light”. Every piece on display is his creation. The UV-lit interior forms an eye-catching spectacle that invites you in. There is a main accent wall, approximately 5 metres long, that he hand-painted himself using fluorescent paints. The paintings celebrate works of international art icons alongside distinct Mexican influences in the images of Día de los Muertos and Kokopelli. The overall visual is balanced with a vibrant, L-shaped intricate doodling in the centre, covering the height of the wall, and supplying a stunning textured feel.

The moment of magic is seeing the artwork fluoresce under the UV light as some pieces glow brilliant hues in the dark. The eclectic mix of products is inspiring; painted canvases, masks, wood mannequins, and glow in the dark trinkets. What struck me the most, however, were the animal skulls; the collection is bold and compelling, a powerful celebration of the beasts. Gooda’s designs are highly intricate, employing various techniques and handcrafted elements. His detailed painting style creates a distinct impression of texture.There’s a lot of science involved throughout the process of creating these fantastic beasts; one piece, for instance, a Where the Wild Things Are-inspired sheep skull, carries a surprising total of several thousand individual dots! For this reason, it can take Gooda over two months to complete one skull – a mark of an artist who refuses to follow the norm. “I have a simple policy; to remain new and challenge myself. I want to elevate the artistic handmade scene. My focus is on quality, on creating something original and unlike anything else. That’s what Wickedicandy stands for. A venue uniquely devoted to the bold and curious individuals who are anything but ordinary.”

Be sure to check out the store for yourself next time you’re in Dahab, in the meantime, feast your eyes  on Wickedicandy's brilliant creations on Instagram!