Photo from Berlinale Festival official website
CAIRO – 26 December 2017: Maha Maamoun, an Egyptian visual artist, has joined the globally momentous Berlin International Film Festival, Berlinale, as part of the curatorial team of “Forum Expanded”. The Festival is scheduled to start on February 15 and span ten days.
“Forum Expanded” is a program that curates a selection of bold and daring experimental documentary and feature films from around the globe. This year’s program is titled “A Mechanism Capable of Changing Itself”, indicating that the theme for the selection will refer to the unique ability of cinema and film to create new and critical perspectives and realities through the screen. “Forum Expanded” is known for its exciting and unexpected selections that seem to stand somewhere between art and cinema.
Maamoun, whose work deals with social and political issues in Egypt, was announced to have joined the curatorial team of “Forum Expanded” for the first time. The team includes Syrian political filmmaker Khaled Abdul Wahed, along with the head of the “Forum Expanded” program Stefanie Schulte Strathaus, and curator Ulrich Ziemons.
The program’s selection includes four Egyptian films: “One Plus One Makes a Pharaoh's Chocolate Cake” by Marouan Omara and Islam Kamal; “Seif Tagreeby” (Experimental Summer) by Mahmoud Lotfy; “Hawamesh Aan el-Hegra” (Footnotes on Migration) by the Egyptian film group Take to the Sea; “Performing Moments of an Archive” by Jasmina Metwaly and Philip Rizk.
Maha Maamoun’s work was previously chosen for the forum’s selection. Her project “Shooting Stars Remind Me of Eavesdroppers” was included in the Forum Expanded program for Berlinale’s 2013 festival. The short film discusses the relationship between ‘listeners’ and the act of listening in the Egyptian political and social context; Maamoun used auditory, visual, and literary techniques to create the film. Her projects probe into political and social tensions in Egypt, and explore issues of interpretation of certain political events and their effects on the social structure of Egypt.
Maamoun is one of the founding members of the Contemporary Image Collective (CIC), an independent Egyptian art initiative established in 2004. The initiative works to create critical perspectives on Egyptian social customs and practices through a number of artistic activities and educational tools. Currently, Maamoun is on the CIC Board of Trustees.
Maamoun also founded the publishing initiative “Kayfa-ta” (How-to) in 2012 with the Amman-based artist Ala Younis. “Kayfa-ta” publishes books that follow the style of popular “how-to” manuals in Egypt to create new forms of discussions on Egyptian society.
Maha Maamoun’s dark and intriguing works have been featured internationally at various institutions including the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, and the MATHAF (Arab Museum of Modern Art) in Qatar, among many other institutions. Her works have also appeared at international biennials and festivals including the 6th Dak’art Biennial in Senegal, the 9th Gwangju Biennial in South Korea, and the 64th Berlinale in Germany as previously mentioned, also among others. She has presented her work in solo shows; her show “Lingering in Vicinity” was exhibited at the Gypsum Gallery in Cairo, and her show “The Night of Counting the Years” was exhibited in 2014 at Fridericianum, a museum in Kassel, Germany.
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