November 22, 2017

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  • Shaymaa Kamel bares her soul in “Roh”

    "Freedom" (2009) by Shaymaa Kamel.

    BY YASMINE ALLAM Last February Shaymaa Kamel showed a series of large canvases populated by rows of fictional animals dressed in suits. To her, these creatures symbolized the tyranny of successive political leaderships in Egypt, out of touch with their own humanity and their people. The undisguised political nature of this message was a departure from Kamel’s previous work, which had been dominated by far more private and visceral portrayals of her own ongoing quest for identity and introspection. For the first time, Kamel’s current solo exhibition “Roh” (Soul) at Tache Art Gallery, brings under one roof, paintings shown in…

    Art through the cracks

    Mina Farouk’s first solo exhibit features cut out silhouettes of black card on a white background.

    BY MARIAM HAMDY Mina Farouk’s “Unloaded”, showing until Oct. 11 at Cala Art Gallery, is impressive for a first-timer. The work is surprisingly mature and solid, for the most part. Essentially, Farouk’s first solo exhibit features cut out silhouettes of black card on a white background. Much like etching, but with paper cutouts rather than engraving on linoleum, each image slowly seeps through the cracks and cuts, making for beautiful Art Nouveau inspired pieces. Farouk’s larger works, with their gorgeous floral motifs, are breathtaking. His women are impossibly fit, beautifully adorned, ancient royalty. Awkwardly positioned bodies curve and twist to…

    Hirst and bad vs. poor taste

    Damien Hirst's “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living,” continues to test our sentiments about death and mortality.

    BY MARIAM HAMDY Cairo: London’s Tate Modern museum is currently holding a retrospective exhibition of works by Damien Hirst, the notorious l’enfant terrible of the Young British Artist’s movement. As one of the most controversial artists today, Hirst has managed to attract as many devoted followers as ardent detractors. The retrospective ranges from the awe-inspiring to the downright pretentious, but it all revels in unadulterated bad taste. To discuss the works of Hirst is to see and read extensively about the artist, so mentioning just a few of his pieces will never fully express his strengths and weaknesses. Since however,…

    A noisy discourse on sexual harassment

    Amira Parée’s latex dress named “Coercion.”

    BY MARIE-JEANNE BERGER Cairo: Women have been groped this year. They have been grabbed. They have been subjected to the bizarre and menacingly-named “virginity tests.” The soldiers have gone free. Women have been attacked and mobbed by groups opposing their protests in waves; they have run. Women have written about injustice, they have been criticized for their views; hands were broken. They have been stripped and stepped on and damned for it. Their assailants — those meant to serve and protect the people — failed at both and went unpunished. Women have been vilified simply for being there — wherever…

    Supermarket for the masses

    Ahmed Abdel Fatah's "Edible."

    BY MARIAM HAMDY Cairo: It seems that there is a recurrent problem in our culture of being unable to reach people efficiently, except on some superficial level. When people say they’re ‘in tune’ with a particular segment of society other than their own, it almost always means that they deal with a minute fraction of what they assume is a sample of it. Each social class, sub-culture, or at best, building (let alone neighborhood) is so self-involved that it ends up speaking, critiquing and analyzing itself. Not only does this reinforce stereotypical gaps between one part of society and the…

    The filtered ‘Noise of Cairo’

    Street artists express the immediate thrill of witnessing the dam broken.

    BY CHITRA KALYANI Cairo: A protester waves a flag from a pole as a helicopter flies overhead. The image is etched in our minds, not simply from the revolution but from a time long ago: David aiming his slingshot at Goliath, man rising against machine, commoner raising a fist at the system. The flag-waving protester also raises the curtain to German filmmaker Heiko Lange’s documentary “The Noise of Cairo – A Documentary about Cairo, Art, and the Revolution.” Enter into the salon with singer Shaimaa Shaalan who explains that previously, due to the education and culture in Egypt, “we were…

    Pondering: ‘If I were president…’

    The posters read in calligraphy: “If I were president…”

    BY MAURICE CHAMMAH Cairo: Several weeks ago, an artist named Amado Alfadni began to post stickers and posters around downtown Cairo. His design was simple, with an abstract border framing a short sentence and several dotted lines. The sentence, split into two versions to address both men and women, reads in calligraphy: “If I were president…” The dotted lines solicit whoever passes by to fill in their own answer. Alfadni had picked the stark design over others with eagles and Egyptian flags, believing that they would distract people from writing on them. He started placing them around downtown Cairo, where…

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