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Exhibition explores the role of images in modern life

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New photography exhibition in Cairo displays photographs from all over the world, and creates an opportunity for local amateurs.

Refurbished camera as an armadillo in Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs' Camera Collection (Photo from lensculture.com)

Refurbished camera as an armadillo in Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs’ Camera Collection
(Photo from lensculture.com)

The liaison office of the Swiss Arts Council in Cairo, Pro Helvetia Cairo, is getting ready for the opening of a new exhibition curated by Maha Maamoun, the general director of the Contemporary Image Collective, and Amman-based artist Ala Younis. The photography exhibition Covering One’s Back shows an array of photographs from a wide selection of artists.

Photographers were mainly selected from Switzerland and Egypt, but the exhibition includes some photographers from Iraq, the UAE and Lebanon. The Pro Helvetia Cairo website states: “The exhibition brings together a wide range of works that engage with photography and the photographic process by artists from the Arab World and Switzerland. The artists participating are Atfal Ahdath, Yasser Alwan, Goerge Awde, Goran Galić & Gian-Reto Gredig, Raphael Hefti, Hassan Khan, Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs, and Heini Stucki.”

Atfal Ahdath is a collective of artists based in Beirut, consisting of Hatem Imam, Vartan Avakian and Raed Yassin. The collective’s name translates to ‘juvenile delinquents’ and they offer their own take on the clichés of art in Arab society.

Yasser Alwan is an Iraqi-American human rights activist and photographer, based in Cairo. He specialises documenting social issues such as poverty, dire working conditions, and child labour through his photography.

Goerge Awde is an American photographer of Lebanese origin. He was born in 1980 and studied at Yale University. In his work he addresses issues such as war, masculinity and love in Middle Eastern societies.

Goran Galić & Gian-Reto Gredig is a Swiss duo. They started working together in 2002. One of their projects, Photographers in Conflict, features studio portraits of field photographers outside their comfort zones.

Raphael Hefti is a Swiss photographer. He studied at Slade School of Fine Art at University College London. His work focuses on the different facets of the industrial and technical world.

Hassan Khan is an Egyptian photographer, born in 1975. He uses photography to express himself.

Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs are another Swiss duo. They mix photography with sculpture to produce some unusual creations.

Heini Stucki is a Swiss photographer, who has been working for over 30 years. Through his photography, he looks for the “joy of life”.

The Pro Helvetia Cairo Facebook page describes the theme of the exhibition as follows: “In a world in which we are saturated with images – the dramatic and the mundane, the grotesque and gorgeous, what do we even notice anymore? What resonates and with whom? Most importantly, what images can we bear to look at? That was the question the curators (Maha Maamoun and Ala Younis) of this stunning photography exhibition asked themselves. The work of the artists in this show ranges in their approach and use of photography – all with one overarching aim – to compel, engage and hopefully leave an enduring impact on the audience.”

The exhibition will also feature an artists’ talk and the curators have invited amateur photographers to submit applications for a chance to meet with the photographers and show them their portfolios. The portfolios will be seen and commented on by the professional photographers, allowing the amateurs to further develop their skills. The deadline to apply is 10 May.

The exhibition runs from 7 May till 23 May at the Gezira Art Centre in Zamalek.


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