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Indepth Arts News:

"Contemporary Arab Representations: Cairo"
2004-02-08 until 2004-04-04
Umeĺ, , SE Sweden

Join the BildMuseets for the second part of Contemporary Arab Representations. Now with the destination of Cairo. The exhibition is part of BildMuseets long-term involvement and exchange with contemporary Arab culture. It was preceded by the exhibition Contemporary Arab Representations: Beirut/Lebanon presented at BildMuseet in February 2003. In Contemporary Arab Representations: Cairo, visitors will encounter artists grappling with and interpreting the bewildering urban and social realities of contemporary Cairo. The artists included employ a wide range of media - drawing, cartoons, graphic arts, black and white photography and video works- and are involved in a variety of professions – from video artists to press photography and cartoons for news media.

Contemporary Arab Representations: Cairo presents six artists living and working in Cairo: Sherif El-Azma – Anna Boghiguian – Golo – Hassan Khan – Hani Rashed – Randa Shaath. For the majority of the artists, it is their first engagement with a Nordic audience.

Catherine David, curator for Contemporary Arab Representations, states that questions of political and geographical identity have not been an issue in the current debate in Egypt but that now a new generation of Egyptian artists is emerging, encouraged by the support of private initiatives and benefiting from a wider pool of references circulated through the globalized urban network.

– The challenge is to articulate and consolidate a critical culture able to deal with the many complexities of the contemporary Egyptian context, and to oppose the simplifying procedures of standardization and codification at work in the dominant visual culture produced by globalization and, indirectly, by the "agendas" of a few large cultural organizations, says Catherine David.

Contemporary Arab Representations is a long-term project which includes seminars, publications, performances and presentations of works by various authors – visual artists, architects, writers, poets and intellectuals – with the aim of encouraging production, circulation and exchange between the different centres of the Arab world and the rest of the world.

Contemporary Arab Representations: Cairo has been produced by Witte de With, Center for Contemporary Art, in Rotterdam and Fundació Antoni Tŕpies in Barcelona.

A publication in the series Tamáss, accompanying the exhibition, will be produced. Tamáss 2, focussing on Cairo, will include contributions by Asef Bayat, Safaa Fathy, Gema Martín Munoz, Mona Zakaria and will be published at the end of February.

The exhibition Contemporary Arab Representations: Cairo premiered at Witte de With in Rotterdam in May 2003 and then travelled to Fundació Antoni Tŕpies in Barcelona. After the presentation at BildMuseet the exhibition will continue to Centro José Guerrero de la Diputación de Granada in Granada, Spain.

Randa Shaath
Peace demonstration Cairo, 2003

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