Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Artistic Expression in Egypt, Post-Revolution

. . . we were voiceless. . .
The revolution brought everybody's talents
into light. People started to talk from their hearts. . . .
~ Shaimaa Shaalan, Musician

Egypt may not be the country that first comes to mind when you combine the words "suppression" and "artistic freedom" — that honor most often goes to China — but as the documentary The Noise of Cairo (Germany-based scenesfrom) shows, in the years preceding the Arab Spring, the dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak used all the means available to stifle creative freedom, violently punishing artists who raised their voices in protest. As we know from revolutions that are successful, those voices are never fully silenced and even while underground play a role in fomenting change.

It is Egyptian artists' unique role in the events that led to last year's overthrow of the Mubarak regime that The Noise in Cairo seeks to reveal while also attempting to answer the question of how the revolution changed the artists themselves and the work they now create. The film introduces us to 12 diverse "influencers" on the cultural scene in Cairo: musicians Ramy Essam and Shaimaa Shaalan, writer Khaled al Khamissi, graffiti artist Kaizer, gallerist William Wells, curator and film director Ali Abdel Mohsen, dancer Ezzat Ismail, choreographer and dancer Karima Mansour, gallerist Sherwet Shafie, journalist Sondos Shabayek, and artists Khaled Hafez and Hany Rashed.  

We couldn't believe our eyes that it would ever, ever succeed.
And when it did succeed, then, everything is bursting
and there's a new life, a new expression, and art is part of it.
~ Sherwet Shafie, Owner, Safar Khan Gallery
Below is the trailer for this important 56-minute documentary:

The Noise of Cairo (Trailer) from scenesfrom on Vimeo.

Also Of Interest

"The Evolution of Hany Rashed", The Daily News Egypt, January 19, 2012

"The Maturing of Street Art in Cairo", The New York Times, July 27, 2011

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

Thanks for this. My parents recently attended a talk on the Arab Spring, and I am eager to hear what they learned, too!