Egyptian artist Wael Shawky to speak at NU-Q

Wael Shawky

Wael Shawky, an internationally renowned Egyptian artist celebrated for his globally aesthetic and politically influenced art, will speak to students and faculty at Northwestern University in Qatar on September 7.

Shawky will discuss his research and production methodologies from a series of his artistic projects, in a session titled, “From Wet Culture – Dry Culture (2003) to Crusades (2010–2016).”

“We are honored to host Mr. Shawky and look forward to gaining insight on his methodologies and practices – as well as how he tackles notions of national, religious, and artistic identity through his art. The discussion of how culture and politics can be framed using art and various mediums will be a unique learning experience for the entire NU-Q community,” said Everette E. Dennis, dean and CEO of NU-Q.

Shawky is in residence at the Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, which is located in Education City and led by HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser. Mathaf is part of Qatar Museums, led by H.E. Sheikha al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. The museum organizes major exhibitions, both historical and experimental, and large-scale education programs. It also hosts solo and group exhibitions by artists from the region, and events that explore and celebrate modern and contemporary art.

The work that brought him international recognition was Cabaret Crusades, a film using puppets that act out the medieval struggle for control over the Middle East. The Financial Times called it “a spine-tingling anti-epic, (that) leaves viewers appalled by the carnage yet riveted by Shawky’s meticulous mapping of the era’s Byzantine twists and turns.”

Shawky was born and educated in Alexandria, Egypt where he continues to live. His practice, spanning video, drawing, and performance, are in-depth productions about the way history and mythology are written, offering crucial perspectives on contemporary narratives of uncertainty and change.

A major artist of his generation, he has developed an original art vocabulary dealing with global aesthetic and political issues. His work has been exhibited internationally, most recently in solo exhibitions at Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2016); Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha; MoMA PS1, New York (2015); K20, Düsseldorf (2014); Serpentine Gallery, London (2013); KW Berlin (2012); and large scale group exhibitions including Istanbul Biennial (2015); Sharjah Biennial (2013); and dOCUMENTA (13) (2012). His work is collected by public institutions including Tate Modern, London; MoMA, New York; MACBA, Barcelona; Qatar Museums, Doha.