Socialist Worker

From Facebook to Nassbook - Art of Egypt’s revolution

Issue No. 2262

The word “nass” in the exhibition’s title is the Egyptian Arabic word for “people”.

It refers to the point at which the internet was shut off in Egypt during the uprising, meaning the revolution was carried mainly through word of mouth.

Artist Ashraf Foda’s exhibit is called Stones from Tahrir Square.

It’s a display of some of the estimated five tonnes of rocks which were torn from the ground and thrown at protesters by security forces.

Each is signed by a public supporter of the revolution—journalists, musicians and authors all leave their mark.

Foda also provides the walls of the gallery with some of the stencilled graffiti seen around Cairo.

One of them is a Coca-Cola bottle with a Molotov cocktail-like fuse.

It’s as if to say that the effect of the market led the people to rise up.

Also on display are photos by Thomas Hartwell. In one, a man waves an Egyptian flag against a background showing a statue of a military figure.

Both are silhouetted, with the youthful revolutionary symbolising the new Egypt coming to the front.

Adel El Siwi’s series of colourful paintings show a series of faces overlaid on one another.

Some are happy, some look fearful. These were painted before the revolution, and show both the hope of the Egyptian people, but also the sadness and anger at the regime they then lived under.

One of the most striking exhibits is by Natalie Ayoub, a student from Cairo.

She couldn’t be in Egypt when the revolution took place.

Here we see her collage of the newspaper cuttings, YouTube screen grabs, and other sources she surrounded herself in as she desperately tried to follow her country’s revolt.

This is a beautiful exhibition full of hope for the future.

From Facebook to Nassbook
Modern Islamic and Contemporary Art Gallery, London

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Tue 26 Jul 2011, 18:32 BST
Issue No. 2262
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