Al Araba Al Madfuna, 2018

Miami Beach 2018
Sfeir-Semler Gallery
HD video, sculpture, drawing
The work of Wael Shawky investigates the real alongside the imaginary histories and narratives of the Arab world. His multi-layered reconstructions and retellings force viewers to engage in questions of truth, myth, and stereotypes. The artist sees himself as a translator of instances of civilizational transition into form. His most recent pieces originate from a research journey he embarked upon in his homeland, in search of historical, religious, and philosophical peculiarities that decisively shape political and social life in Egypt. He travelled from his native town of Alexandria via Cairo along the Nile to Upper Egypt. Influenced by experiences from this journey, Shawky created Al Araba Al Madfuna, a film trilogy, accompanied by drawings and sculptures. The title refers to the struggle between Egypt’s immense historical past and the effects on modern-day Egypt; a country trying to embrace yet excavate its grand history. Shawky’s most recent sculptures and drawings are reminiscent of pharaonic sculptures; yet looking closer, they reveal a surreal edge between past and future. Their reflective metallic colors and exaggerated forms are typical of Shawky’s oeuvre.