Hala Elkoussy (b. 1974, Cairo) with Curator Jelle Bouwhuis, Abraaj Group Art Prize 2010
Myths and Legends Room: The Mural, 48 framed colour photographs,10 x 4 m
Myths and Legends Room: The Mural is an unexpected take on the mural as a commemorative work of propaganda art, referencing wall paintings and dioramas that celebrate the history of modern Egypt. By distilling what can be viewed as an anthology of contemporary myths and legends, a more fluid and human reading of history is brought forward, standing in sharp contrast to how it is presented in the educational systems of Egypt and most of the Arab World. Treating modernisation as a loss of tradition as well as a challenge, the work reflects on the speed of the dazzling urbanalteration process, for which the fast-growing, dynamic, contemporary metropolis of Cairo serves as a prime example.
Hala Elkoussy studied at the American University of Cairo (AUC) before completing an MA in Image and Communication at Goldsmiths College, University of London. In 2004, she co-founded the Contemporary Image Collective, an artist-run initiative dedicated to the visual image based in Cairo. Elkoussy’s work delves into the intimate and overlooked sides of communal living to highlight underlying dynamics at play within the complex urban structure that is Cairo.
Jelle Bouwhuis was born in 1965 in Utrecht, The Netherlands. He is an art historian, critic, writer and curator. Since 2006 he has been curator at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam where he is responsible for the programme of exhibitions, publications and residences. He also manages the activities of the Stedelijk Museum Bureau, a project space in the city centre