Photo of Heba Y. Amin courtesy of her official Facebook page
CAIRO – 5 August 2017: Two Egyptian visual artists, Heba Y. Amin and Mahmoud Khaled, will be part of the 15th Istanbul Biennale this year, which will commence from September 16 until November 12.
A total of 55 artists from across 32 countries, including in the Middle East are participating in the festival.
Amin was born in 1980, Cairo and currently resides in Berlin, where she works as a teacher at Bard College Berlin. Her multimedia artwork revolves around the convergence of architecture, politics, and technology.
She was one of the artists involved in subversive graffiti for the American television series 'Homeland', which she and other artists criticized its poor representation of the Arab world through the Arabic graffiti they were hired for the set.
Other works include the 'The Earth is an Imperfect Ellipsoid', a geographic voyage that witnessed Amin’s trace of the steps of an 11 century Arabic geography map, and the short film 'As Birds Flying', which concerns the Egyptian government's paranoia over a stork suspected of being an Israeli spy.
The other Egyptian artist participating Khaled was born in 1982, Alexandria, and currently lives in both Egypt and Norway. He studied painting in Alexandria University's Faculty of Fine Arts and graduated with a Bachelor's degree, where he puts his skills into creating unique sculptures, mixed with videos, writing and photography to create a unique multimedia experience that focus on themes of philosophy and political activism.
Examples of his recent works include this year's sculpture display 'Seagulls Are Flying Close to the Ground'.
Other artists from the Arab world include Iraqi-Canadian Mahmoud Obaidi and Lebanese Sculptor Rayyane Tabet. Born in 1966, Baghdad, Obaidi's artwork has been featured in numerous museums worldwide, with one of his more famous pieces being 2011's FIVE GIGABYTES OF MY MEMORY.
Tabet, born in 1983, had his artwork shifted by Lebanon's post war climate, as exemplified in his 2009 piece 'How to Play Beirut' which uses alcohol glasses and a map of the city to create a double meaning on the word 'bombed'.
The theme for the 15th Istanbul Biennale is also its chosen title; 'A Good Neighbor'. Curated by artist duo Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset, 'A Good Neighbor' deals with the notions of home and neighborhoods, working across 40 questions developed by the duo that explore the nature of communities, our neighbors and what it means to belong.