Some 40 mixed media collages done in 2014 and 2015 on the pages of Al Masry Al Youm, a liberal, critical newspaper, will be showcased during a solo show by artist Hisham El Zeiny at Mashrabia Gallery of Contemporary Art.
The title of the exhibit, Al Masry Al Youm, is a play on words, meaning not only the name of the newspaper but also translating to, "Egypt nowadays." The medium draws attention to the political events and to the role of the media in the January 25 Revolution, but also considers the role of the artist within this difficult panorama.
A common theme in the collages are silhouettes of football players running or fighting for the ball with the word "playground" in the background. The athletes represent dynamism and embody competition and confrontation, which seem to overcome the unity of Tahrir Square. Politics and political events metaphorically become games played on a chaotic playground, where the real needs of the Egyptian people are rarely addressed.
El Zeiny subtly denounces the absence of a clear political agenda, which leads to an increasingly individualist society that lacks unity. The newspaper pages mirror a broader need for deconstructing information - the speed of news these days leaves no time for calm meditation.
Born in Cairo in 1956 to a German mother and an Egyptian-Sudanese father, Hisham El Zeiny grew up in a bilingual and multi-cultural environment. He studied architecture at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Cairo before moving on to postgraduate studies with Prof. Hassan Fathy, a pioneer of traditional Egyptian architecture. El Zeiny has held numerous exhibits in Egypt and Europe, where he's been living for more than a decade.
Opens January 31 at 7pm and runs until March 10
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