By Fanny Ohier
Darb 1718, a contemporary Art and Culture Centre, is keeping its commitment to support contemporary art by hosting the Khadra 2013 exhibition. Held for the second time, Khadra 2013 is a group exhibition that presents a range of young artists from all over the Arab world.
Hend Elkolaly is the curator and one of the exhibiting artists of Khadra 2013. “The exhibition presents social, political, religious views” she explained but with “no feminist intentions.”
“Khadra is an attempt to demolish the stereotypes imposed by the society and to restore a culture of free thinking unrestricted by racism or any kind of labeling,” Elkolaly said.
Khadra, which literally means green in Arabic, has a symbolic meaning for the curators. “The name came from the thought that green means land, goodness, freedom, humanity. It represents all that is pure and the idea of a pure identity,” Elkolaly said. “Khadra for us means the things we can use to give life to our ideas, which are not reflecting our bodies or our types.”
Elkolaly insisted that the exhibition is a way to express “our humanity and not our femininity.” The artwork of the artists portrays their identities, focusing on “anything that affects us, be it personal, social or political, amongst other things,” Elkolaly added.
Other Egyptian artists such as Asmaa, Nevien Emam, Wesam Quraish, Hala Abou Shady, Marwa Elshazly, Ola Saad, Mona Shams, Samah Nagy and Eman Osama are participating in Khadra 2013. Unlike before, this year the exhibition includes artists from outside Egypt. The artwork of Sarra Ben Attia, Houda Ghorbel, Ymene Chetouane, from Tunisia, will be displayed beside work from Bahraini artist Waheeda Malullah and Palestinian Asma Ghanem.
The choice of gathering these artists is based on the idea that they all “belong to the same generation, share the same intellectual directions and work in visual and contemporary art,” Elkolaly said. Following this idea, “Khadra could continue to extend its reach to more countries in the coming years. If possible, we will repeat the experience to include western artists as well. The main goal is to be open to ideas and artistic expressions coming from different countries,” she said.
Though Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain and Palestine share tumultuous periods in their current situations and histories, the countries are different. “For sure the cultural and artistic content will differ. This multiplicity leads to a great number of artistic genres in the current exhibition,” Elkolaly said.
The exhibition will present visual, contemporary and conceptual art in different formats including photography, video, ceramics, installations and photo montages. Khadra 2013 opens on 4 July at 7pm until 15 August, with free admittance.