AL MASAR GALLERY │Contemporary Art

11 December 2010 – 5 January 2011

Hamdi Attia | Khaled Hafez | Haytham Nawar | Mohamed Radwan | Kareem El Qurity

Parallel to the 12th International Cairo Biennale, Al Masar Gallery for Contemporary Art is pleased to present the second exhibition of its third season: Edge Sentiments.

Edge Sentiments showcases the practices of five contemporary Egyptian artists currently living and working in Cairo, Egypt. Three of the exhibited gallery artists are also exhibited within the Cairo Biennale that opens December 12th.

The title of the exhibition, Edge Sentiments, is inspired by Lila Abu-Lughod’s book Veiled Sentiments, where the author observes and documents how people express certain personal feelings in subtle manners through folk chant, scriptures or short poems, exploring and questioning along the way the relationship between the Bedouin poetic discourse and the discourse of ordinary social life.

Through the juxtaposition of the works of the invited artists, Edge Sentiments proposes a close analytical comparison between practices of artists who are all exposed to the same Egyptian social givens, the visual and verbal cultures of continuously urbanized communities, the almost unique and ambivalent phenomenon of mixed Eastern-Western values, as well as the identity challenges that constitute an integral element in the daily public discourse.

The works of the five artists demonstrate the core of individual practices, the drivers, the references and the personal obsessions. The influence of photojournalism (Attia, Nawar, Qurity) and media-propagated imagery (Attia,

Hafez) and the subliminal influence of ancient Egyptian forms, ideograms and pictographs on many of the works (Radwan, Qurity, Hafez) are undeniable and worth studying.

Like Lila Abu-Lughod’s observations of how societies use their poetry to express and understand feelings, attitudes and behaviours, Edge Sentiments equally provides an observation of how some artists use –literally as well as metaphorically– their contemporary surrounding visual culture, to stir, explore and express personal issues and statements.

The Practice of Hamdi Attia (b. 1964, Assiut, Egypt) spans video, installation and painting. He obtained his BFA from Helwan University and an MFA from University of Pennsylvania. In his work, Attia explores the capacity of a local culture, a specific discipline, or a discourse to gain power through translation as a tool to reconstruct facts and ideas. Attia’s international career was launched with his Venice Biennale’s prize-winning collaborative project (with architect Akram Magdoub and composer Khaled Choukry) in 1995. Attia’s works were exhibited at The 1st Biennale of Canaries (2006), the Cairo Biennale (2007), The 1st Brussels Biennale (2008), as well as at the The Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Icatha and the Queens Museum, NY, USA, the International Electronic Art Festival Videobrasil, São Paulo, the Museum of New Art in Detroit, the New York International Independent Film & Video Festival, NY and the School of American Research, Santa Fe, NM, USA.

Khaled Hafez (b. 1963, Cairo, Egypt) studied medicine and followed the evening classes of the Cairo fine arts in the eighties. After attaining a medical degree in 1987 and M.Sc. as a medical specialist in 1992, he gave up medical practices in the early nineties for a career in the arts. He later obtained an MFA in new media and digital arts from Transart Institute (New York, USA) and Danube University Krems (Austria). Hafez’s practice spans the mediums of painting, installation, photography and video. Through a diversity of visual media Hafez attempts to dissect the complex nature of the Egyptian identity: ancient Egyptian,

Mediterranean, African, Arab and Middle Eastern. His works are shown in Manifesta 8, Murcia, Spain (October 2010), the 12th Cairo Biennale, Egypt (December 2010), and were shown in the Dakar Biennale 2004 & 2006, the Singapore Biennale 2006, Sharjah Biennale 2007, Guangzhou Triennale 2008, Thessaloniki Biennale 2009, as well as in the Saatchi Gallery and Tate Modern, UK, MuHKA Museum of Art, Antwerp, Belgium, the Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany, The Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Icatha, the Queens Museum and the New Museum NY, USA, as well as in Centre George Pompidou, Paris, France. Hafez is Fulbright Fellow (2005) and a Rockefeller Fellow (2009).

Haytham Nawar (born in Gharbia, Egypt – 1978) is a visual artist who lives and works currently between Egypt and Switzerland. Nawar’s practice is interdisciplinary and incorporates the mediums of drawing, printmaking, light and sound installation, video and photography. He is a lecturer at the faculty of Applied Sciences and Arts at the German University in Cairo while collaborating with Arta Film Production in Zurich. He received a BA degree in Fine Arts with a major in printmaking, a master’s degree in Fine Arts majoring in New Media from Cairo, Egypt and another master’s degree in Advanced Study in Art and Technology from Zurich, Switzerland. Nawar is currently preparing for the Ph.D. program M Node (NABA Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti Milano) in cooperation with Planetary Collegium at the University of Plymouth in England. He is also a member of the Syndicate of Plastic Arts in Egypt, the Cairo Atelier for artists and writers and the Associations Internationale des Critiques d’art (AICA), Paris, France. Since 1998, he has participated in several international exhibitions, biennales, triennales, and workshops. Nawar won awards and acquisitions: in Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Spain, South Korea, Switzerland, Syria, UAE and United States.

Mohamed Radwan (b. 1970, Cairo, Egypt) holds a BFA, MFA and Ph.D. in sculpture from Helwan University. In his sculptural projects, Radwan adopts the ancient Egyptian stone carving techniques and simulates concepts of abstraction to formulate stone masses that interact with space. His colossal works have been exhibited inAswan International Symposium of Sculpture (1999 & 2007), Symposium of Cheafolonia, Italy (2003); the Egyptian Academy in Rome, Italy (2003 & 2004); The 2nd Berojia Exhibition, Italy (2003); the Nanto Petra Symposium, Vechiensa, Italy (2003) and the Alya Sculpture Symposium in Lebanon (2000).

Karim El Qurity (b. 1982, Cairo, Egypt) is a painter and mixed media artist. He holds a BFA from Helwan University, Egypt, and was twice prizewinner at the Salon of Young Artists, Egypt. Qurity takes the social dynamics of Egyptian public urban spaces –like crowded streets– as a base element in all of his mixed media paintings. Through his gigantic portraits and non-traditional compositions much reminiscent of film photography techniques, Qurity depicts entre emotions from the cropped faces. Qurity’s work was shown in The Biennale of Young Creators of Europe and the Mediterranean, Skope, Macedonia, 2009 and Nord Art 2010, Büdelsdorf, Germany, 2010.

Hamdi Attia

Haytham Nawar

Kareem El Qurity

Khaled Hafez

Mohamed Radwan