We hope that you are intrigued by Camille's wonderful art. Each painting tells a story about her life and her imagination.
Until relatively recently, the story of the Sephardim in Sydney had been largely untold and unrecognised. Their communities across the Middle East and North Africa were displaced and those who eventually found a home in Australia faced numerous challenges.
Sydney Jewish Museum’s recent exhibition Jews From Islamic Lands (March to December 2020) told the story of this ‘minority within a minority’, acknowledging their rich history, the difficulties they faced, and their willingness to embrace new opportunities in Australia while still holding onto their cherished customs.
Camille Fox’s paintings, inspired by her memories of Egypt, were included in the exhibition. Her vibrant and colourful paintings and her ability to tell stories through the lens of happy memories of a bygone era, really appealed to our Museum audiences.
Enchanted by her work, we decided to commission Camille to produce a series of artworks for the Museum’s collection to depict key Jewish life cycle events and ‘Chaggim’ (Jewish high holy days) such as Pesach, Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year), Shavuot and Channukah.
We trusted her creativity to respond to our commission, bringing her unique sensibilities and illustration skills to give us a glimpse into contemporary Jewish life in a specifically Sydney setting.
Roslyn Sugarman, Head Curator
Sydney Jewish Museum
Rosh Hashanah family celebration dinners have been a part of my life since my very early recollections.
As a small child in our villa in Alexandria, Egypt, our extended family would gather around a large table laden with crystal and silver, following ancient Jewish traditions to enjoy the delectable cuisine of my grandmother and aunts.
After our expulsion from Egypt, we celebrated Rosh Hashanah on our desert outpost in Southern Israel – a modest makeshift table lit by kerosene lamps with some of us sitting on wooden crates and others on milk cans – the joy and excitement of this family gathering not diminished by our circumstances.
Several years later in our cramped flat in Bondi, with our extended family around us, we celebrated the same traditions with the same delicious foods, the animated conversation peppered with words from several languages in one sentence.
Finally, we celebrate from a vast terrace overlooking Sydney Harbour, comfortable in the late afternoon of life. The traditions remain the same, and the joy has never diminished.
My painting reflects this journey.
Over many years, I have seen a World War II photograph in various publications, magazines, Judaica books and more recently on the internet and social media. The image shows a beautiful Chanukiah on the sill of an open window overlooking a street with a huge Nazi swastika flag hanging from a balcony across the street.
I have chills when I see this image and also a mixture of sadness and awe at the bravery of the owner of that chanukiah. Traditionally we are to light our chanukiah by an open window unless threatened by fear of antisemitism.
My painting is inspired by that image. My chanukiah is also lit by an open window but with a backdrop of Bondi Beach. We are now living our lives within a largely caring inclusive and diverse society, secure in the knowledge that we can light our chanukiah by an open window.
Purim has always been my favourite Chag of all, with people getting dressed up in all manner of flamboyant outfits. I remember being dressed as an Arab dancing girl at a Purim Party held at our Country Club in Alexandria, Egypt, covered in folds of red voile with a scattering of gold sequins, large gold hoops in my ears, and red voile draped across my face.
It was to be my last such opulent Purim Party.
Many decades later, as I create my painted characters in a bright palette of primary colours, I am reminded of those wonderful Disney animated feature films of my childhood. My mother took me to these movie matinées as soon as they were released at the ‘Odeon Cinema’ near our home in ‘Camp of Caesar’ Alexandria. I felt exaltation and excitement as the colourful spectacle unfolded before my eyes on the large screen…. ”One day I am going to paint pictures like these” my six year old self thought.
My Village in Spring
Oil on Canvas
70 x 70cm
As a New Day Dawns
Oil on Canvas
56 x 56cm
Oil on Canvas
56 x 56cm
The Golden Hour
Oil on Canvas
30 x 30cm
Oil on Canvas
25 x 20cm
Oil on Canvas
100 x 100cm
$7,500 - SOLD
The Last Passover in Babylon, Oil on Canvas, 112 x 137cm, Private Commission
"The earliest memories I have of my beloved father (ע״ה) are inextricably linked to his idyllic childhood in Baghdad and, ultimately, our family's exodus from Iraq to Israel once life for Mizrahi Jews in Arab lands soured around the time of the Holocaust. Sadly, our family photos, artwork, jewelry, and all heirlooms were confiscated by the Iraqi authorities prior to my family's exile. Over these many decades living in America, I have kept my distinctly Iraqi-Jewish culture and traditions -- our religious traditions, style, art, music, food, colloquialisms, and warmth -- alive. I've even dedicated most of my professional career to documenting the history of Mizrahi Jews across Arab lands. Still, I have longed for an heirloom that could convey what life was like for my family in Baghdad in its golden era. A living artifact to pass down to my own children.
Over the course of a decade knowing Camille Fox, we had the occasion to chat about our shared culture, families, and nostalgia for the bygone era of both Baghdad and Alexandria, respectively. And I've had the privilege of observing her immense talent in action and admiring her myriad stunning works -- from whimsical scenes of Australian life that capture its distinct joie de vivre, to the moving scapes of her own childhood in Alexandria, Egypt that resonated with me on a deeply personal level. It had been my hope that perhaps one day, an original Camille Fox painting would adorn my own home with its grace and richly-told story.
I was honored with that gift in 2020 when Camille and I began speaking about the possibility of a private commission wherein she would capture the Baghdad of my father's childhood. Over the course of many months, we embarked on a truly intimate and collaborative process, as I shared stories, family photos, historical facts, and the emotions they elicited.
The Last Passover in Baghdad is the grand embodiment of this year-long process. More than a work of art, Last Passover is a living tribute to my dearest loved ones: my father, Joseph, filled with the innocence and wonder of childhood before knowing what dark days would one day befall him and his family; my studious grandfather Abraham's warmth and wisdom as he reads from Judaism's illuminated texts; the quiet, understated elegance of my grandmother Hanninah; the glamour and mischievous senses of humor of my Aunties Madeleine and Eva; and the rest of my family animated in living color as if they were here with us still. Each day I look upon this beautiful painting, in awe of Camille's natural ability to capture not just historical accuracy, but the poignant emotions and personalities of her subjects. Her painstaking attention to detail and the emotional investment she makes in each brushstroke shine through.
Working with Camille has been among the most profound experiences of my life for which I am forever grateful. And more than the gift of this beautiful painting, is that I now count her among my own beloved family."
Editor and Art Collector
In the 'Nostalgic Glimpses of a Bygone Era' series of oil paintings, Camille depicts a bygone golden era in the Egypt which now exists only in memory.
The images show playful, amusing memories that find their way onto the canvas in vivid colours and whimsical narrative.
In the 'Halcyon Days' series, drawn and painted in mixed media on archival paper with a limited palette, Camille shows an intimate glimpse of everyday life in the Egypt of bygone days.
'Well Heeled' is a series of oil paintings that celebrates horse racing and provides a wonderful opportunity to share in the merriment of a day at the races; to be thrilled or to laugh over cocktails with friends.
This is a unique collection of social portraits capturing the carefree glamour so characteristic of Australia.
The 'Vignettes of Sydney' series of gouache paintings on archival paper depict a playful, whimsical look at Sydney society.
In this section, you will find other paintings in various mediums.
Here you will see Camille's expertise in painting portraits, some of which have been selected as finalists in National art prizes.
Please see here several ink drawings on archival paper.
Many of Camille's original paintings are available in limited edition high quality prints and various sizes. Please enquire.
Welcome to my website. I hope you will return to visit often as we will be adding new works, photographs and media releases regularly.
My name is Camille Fox. I was born in Alexandria Egypt, and I am an artist living in Sydney Australia. I paint with oils in the layering and glazing style of the Old Masters, using the finest cotton canvas and richest pigment paints. For the past few years my passion has been painting the Egypt of yesteryear... the Egypt of my roots, depicting a Cosmopolitan Era which no longer exists. You can see these paintings in the drop down 'Galleries' menu.
I also like to paint in gouache on Archival paper - you can also find these in the drop down 'Galleries' menu, under 'Vignettes of Sydney'.
I like to think of myself as a story teller, conceiving stories in my mind from memories of a bygone era, or as a colourful fantasy set in the present day. I bring these stories to life in my studio. They start as drawings, where I concentrate on composition, shapes, and relationships between my characters. These drawings find their way on to the canvas as a joyous, enchanted journey of vibrant colours and humorous whimsical narrative.
My studio is located in the renowned beachside suburb of Bondi, where I gain composure and solace from the hectic world outside.
In 2014, I held a solo exhibition in New York at the Artifact Gallery on the Lower East Side. Along with my husband Tony, I enjoyed meeting many Facebook friends during our visit. It was my first trip to New York, and based on the hospitality we were shown, it will certainly not be my last.
In May 2015, the ‘World Center for North African Jewish Heritage' in Jerusalem hosted an exhibition of my paintings. With the title ‘Celebration of a Bygone Era', I returned to the Golden Age of Egypt in the days of my grandparents in the 1930s. The Centre, at 13 Rehov Hamaaravim, Jerusalem, is a magnificently renovated building with artistically landscaped surrounds, which houses artifacts from Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, and Egypt. My exhibition was held in the centre’s large exhibition space, and was a vehicle for several cultural events that focused on Egypt.
In 2017, I featured in the Jerusalem Biennale as part of the exhibition ‘Homelands’, which addressed the loss of the Jews from Islamic lands.
At the same time in 2017, I held a solo exhibition at the ARO Gallery in Sydney with framed works on archival paper titled ‘Halcyon Days’.
A selection of my paintings were on display for over a year until April 2021 at the Sydney Jewish Museum titled ‘Nostalgic Glimpses of a Bygone Era’ as part of the exhibition ‘Jews from Islamic Lands’.
Please do not hesitate to get in touch with me should you have any enquiries. I look forward to reading your comments.
"Camille’s paintings are like scenes from a dream memory, the magic and smiling time of cosmopolitan Egypt early in the last century. She brings to life the charm and innocence of another age. A sense of ease and playfulness pervade her scenes. Like gardens bursting with flowers on the desert’s edge, her people effervesce. The women are vivacious, everyone is happy, the seasons are always summertime or spring. Her paintings are evocative and haunting; with vividness and humour they capture that most delicate of imaginings, the vanished past."
Michael Haag sadly passed away in 2019. He was a writer and historian, who has written for major newspapers and magazines in Britain and America. He is the author of Alexandria – City of Memory, and Vintage Alexandria: Photographs of the City 1860 – 1960, the Durrells of Corfu, amongst other publications.