"Histories of Now: Six Artists from Cairo"   

January 18–March 17, 2012
Barbara and Steven Grossman Gallery + Mrs. E. Ross Anderson Auditorium
Hours: Mon–Sat, 10 am–5 pm; Thurs 10 am–8 pm; closed Sundays and holidays
Press inquiries, contact Brooke Daniels

Public symposium, March 9: Histories of Now: Art, Digital Media + Contemporary Social Movements

Opening during the one year anniversary of the first mass protests in Tahrir Square, "Histories of Now: Six Artists from Cairo" brings together work by some of the most inspiring and influential video and new media artists working in Egypt today, including a multi-channel video installation by the late Ahmed Basiony featured in the Egyptian Pavilion of the 54th Venice Biennale.

This exhibition is an intimate investigation of the complex social framework and collective formal engagements currently being explored by Egyptian artists. With many of these artists exhibiting in the northeast region of the United States for the first time, "Histories of Now" introduces viewers to the diversity of voices, concerns and approaches—both material and conceptual—found in today's Cairo; six artists presenting six contrasting visions, united only by context, creative discipline and geographic proximity.

Read more about the artists: Mohamed Abla, Ahmed Basiony, Hala Elkoussy, Shady El Noshokaty, Sabah Naim, Moataz Nasr


January 23, 6–8 pm

Grossman Gallery + Anderson Auditorium, SMFA
Opening reception (Free)

January 25, 6:30 pm
Remis Auditorium, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Shady El Noshokaty: Contemporary Art and the New Egyptian Identity, a multimedia lecture and performance.
$15, MFA members, students, seniors; $18, non-members

January 31, 12:30
Alfond Auditorium, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Screening of Nadia Kamel's film Salata Baladi (An Egyptian Salad)
Award-winning Egyptian filmmaker Nadia Kamel's heritage is a complex blend of religions and cultures. Her mother is a half-Jewish, half-Italian Christian who converted to Islam when she married Nadia's half-Turkish, half-Ukrainian father. Prompted by the realization that her 10-year-old nephew Nabeel is growing up in an Egyptian society where talk of culture clashes is all too common, she urges her feminist, pacifist, activist mother, Mary Rosenthal, to share their diverse family history. (Free with Museum admission)

February 9, 12–2 pm
Alfond Auditorium, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Screening of Tahani Rached's film These Girls (El-Banate Dol)
This documentary follows a band of teenage girls living on the streets of Cairo. Already at a disadvantage as
impoverished and abused girls in a Muslim society, they encounter rape, drug addiction, prostitution, pregnancy
and motherhood on the streets. While the girls' troubles are not downplayed, neither are their courage, playfulness
and vibrant camaraderie. (Free with Museum admission)

February 21, 12:30 pm
Alfond Auditorium, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Lecture with participating artist, Mohamed Abla (Free with Museum admission)

March 9, 2012, 1–7 pm
Alfond Auditorium, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Symposium: Histories of Now: Art, Digital Media + Contemporary Social Movements (Free and open to the public. Tickets are available at the main MFA ticket desk)


Mohamed Abla (b. 1953, Belqas, Egypt) is an artist and educator and founder of the Fayoum Art Center, Fayoum, Egypt. Abla exhibits and teaches internationally and has been exhibiting since 1979. His most recent exhibition sites include: The British Museum (2005); Gallery Hohman, Germany (2006); Zamalek Gallery, Cairo (2005, 2004, 2002); Havana Biennial (2003), Cairo Biennial (1996). He received first prize at the Alexandria Biennial in 1997.

Ahmed Basiony (1978–2011) was an important, rising young talent in contemporary Egypt before his death during the revolution in Tahrir Square on January 28, 2011. Working in a broad range of media he was, in recent years, particularly interested in sound art as well as combining audio and visual languages. A beloved educator, Basiony served as Assistant Professor of painting and drawing at Helwan University, Cairo. As his interest in sound art and interactive media grew, he founded an independent experimental sound art workshop and introduced it as an academic program at Helwan University.

Hala Elkoussy (b.1974, Cairo, Egypt) is a multimedia artist with a strong focus on film. The recipient of numerous international awards and residencies, she holds a graduate degree from the University of London and exhibits internationally. In 2004, she co-founded the Contemporary Image Collective, an artist-run initiative dedicated to the visual image, based in Cairo. Her recent one-person shows include exhibitions at: Townhouse Gallery, Cairo (2010, 2005); Goteborg Konsthall, Goteborg, Sweden (2009); and Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam (2006). Recent group exhibitions include: Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, (2010); Rautenstrauch- Joest-Museum, Cologne, Germany (2010); Maghreb Connection, Bamako Biennial, Bamako, Mali (2009); Sharjah Biennial, Sharjah, UAE (2009); Kunsternes Hus, Oslo, Norway (2009); Tate Modern, London (2007); Museo Tamayo, Mexico City (2007). In the United States, Elkoussy's work has been shown at the Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis (2008) and the International Center of Photography, New York City (2006).

Shady El Noshokaty (b. 1971, Domyat, Egypt) is an artist and educator on the faculty of Hellwan University and American University, Cairo. Based in Cairo, El Noshokaty works in a variety of media and exhibits internationally. His recent exhibitions include "Africa Remix – Contemporary Art of the Continent," Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf (2004); Hayward Gallery, London (2005); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2005); Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2006); and Johannesburg Art Gallery (2007). In 1999, El Noshokaty's work represented Egypt at the 48th Venice Biennale, and in 2011 he was the curator for the Egyptian Pavilion of the 54th Venice Biennale, presenting work by the martyred Ahmed Basiony.

Sabah Naim (b. 1967, Cairo, Egypt) holds a PhD (2003) and an MFA (1996) from the College of Art Education, Cairo where she currently teaches. Her one-person exhibitions include "Street Studio", B21 Gallery, Dubai (2008); Lia Rumma Gallery, Naples, Italy (2006 and 2001); and Karin Francis, Cairo (2004). Group exhibitions include: Palais des Arts, Marseille, France (2008); "Word Into Art: Artists of the Modern Middle East," British Museum, London and Dubai (2007); Kunstmuseum Bonn (2006); "Word into Art," The British Museum, London (2005); and "Africa Remix – Contemporary Art of the Continent," Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf (2004); Hayward Gallery, London (2005); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2005); Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2006); and Johannesburg Art Gallery, (2007). In the United States, Naim's work has been shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, CO. (2003).

Moataz Nasr (b. 1961, Alexandria, Egypt) is a multimedia artist and curator. In 2005, he founded Darb 1718, a contemporary art and culture center located in Cairo, whose mission is "a trampoline to advance the burgeoning contemporary art movement in Egypt." Nasr's international exhibitions include: the Egyptian Cultural Center in Paris (2002); the 8th Cairo Biennial (2001); the Dakar Biennial (2002); the Sharjah Biennial (2005), and the "Africa Remix" internationally traveling exhibition (2005–07). In 2011, Nasr's work was shown in Florence (Galleria Continua, San Giminiano), London (Selma Feriani Gallery and the Farm Street Church of the Immaculate Conception) and Paris (Jardin des Tuileries).