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Creative Dissent: Arts of the Arab World Uprisings

Bryn Mawr College is examining the role of the arts in the Arab Spring movements with the exhibition Creative Dissent: Arts of the Arab World Uprisings, and a public program featuring Ganzeer, one of the most prominent of the artists active in Cairo during the uprisings against the Mubarak government. 

The exhibition is the result of a collaboration between the Arab American National Museum and guest curators, Christiane Gruber and Nama Khalil of the University of Michigan.  It will be on display in the Class of 1912 Rare Book Room in Bryn Mawr College’s Canaday Library from Thursday, January 22nd through Friday, March 6, noon to 4:30 pm daily.   

 

Public Programs

Exhibition Opening and Lecture by Exhibition Curator Christiane Gruber

Thursday, January 22
7:30 pm

Carpenter Library 21, Bryn Mawr College

An Evening with Ganzeer, Egyptian Artist and Activist

Monday, January 26
7:30 pm

Thomas Great Hall, Bryn Mawr College


Ganzeer in Conversation: Art, Revolution, and the Arab Spring in Egypt
Tuesday, January 27,
5:00 pm
Goodhart Music Room, Bryn Mawr College
Conversation with Ganzeer, led by Jennifer Pruitt, Assistant Professor, Department of Art History, University of Wisconsin-Madison

“The Square,” screening of the 2014 Academy Award-winning documentary, followed by discussion

Thursday, February 26

7:00 pm (admission charged - see BMFI website)

Bryn Mawr Film Institute

824 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr, PA

The exhibitions and programs, other than “The Square,” are free and open to the public. For information, please contact us at 610-526-6576

 

Curator: Christiane Gruber

 

Dr. Christiane Gruber is Associate Professor of Islamic Art and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Art History at the University of Michigan, and the curator of “Creative Dissent: The Arts of the Arab World Uprisings,” originally shown at the National Arab American Museum, Dearborn, Michigan, November 2013 – February 2014. She is the author of numerous articles and three books on Islamic art, including the forthcoming The Praiseworthy One: The Prophet Muhammad in Islamic Texts and Images (2016).  She is also actively engaged with contemporary art in the Middle East. In addition to curating the “Creative Dissent” exhibition, she is the editor, with Sune Haugbolle, of Visual Culture in the Modern Middle East: Rhetoric of the Image (2013), and has written on political art in Turkey and post-revolutionary Iran. She holds a doctorate in Islamic Art History from the University of Pennsylvania.

Statement:

I have had an urge to curate an exhibition on the arts of the Middle East uprisings since 2011, when the demonstrations first broke out in Tunisia and Egypt, later engulfing Libya, Syria, Bahrain, and Yemen. I myself experienced and photographed the Gezi Park demonstrations in Istanbul this past summer, which gave me a greater sense of purpose and urgency. As the revolutions unfolded, I began to record the extraordinary output of visual imagery, chants, and other expressive media through which protesters were mobilized and inspired into collective action.

I believe that the power of these modes of communication cannot be underestimated. Many forms of performed and visual dissent, however, are ephemeral and born in the streets, so it is a challenge to convey the electricity—even chaos—of the moment within a carefully organized museum space. Yet we have aimed to do just that, in the hope that the visitor will come away from the show with a greater appreciation of the pivotal role that the creative arts play in tense moments of social and political upheaval.

 

Artist: Ganzeer

Ganzeer is the pseudonym of an Egyptian artist operating mainly between graphic design and contemporary art since 2007. His art has been shown in Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Finland, Germany, Jordan, the Netherlands, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, and the United States, as well as in myriad Cairo galleries. Art in America Magazine has referred to Ganzeer’s work as “New Realism,” and the Huffington Post ranked him among “25 Street Artists from Around the World who are Shaking Up Public Art,” but Ganzeer rejects both labels and regards Bidoun magazine’s description of him as a “contingency artist” as probably the most accurate, while Ganzeer refers to his own practice as Concept Pop. Al-Monitor.com has placed him on a list of "50 People Shaping the Culture of the Middle East" (2013), and he is also one of the protagonists in a critically acclaimed documentary “Art War” (2014) by German director Marco Wilms. Ganzeer is currently based in Brooklyn, New York, and he was the subject of a lengthy profile in the New York Times this summer: Hieroglyphics That Won’t Be Silenced: Ganzeer Takes Protest Art Beyond Egypt, by Barbara Pollack, July 10, 2014. His first solo exhibition in the US, “All-American By Ganzeer”, opens January 16, 2015 at the Leila Heller Gallery in New York City.