Dia Batal has developed a multidisciplinary approach, creating context specific work, mostly designed for physical interaction. This style harmoniously brings the art of calligraphy, the functionality of design and the meaning of words with the use and form of the Arabic language.
“Arguably, the exponential proliferation of still and moving images has relentlessly pushed against the boundaries of what is deemed provocative, untenable, unacceptable. Today, the global mainstream audience seems numbed with regards to the pain of others and the abominations of war. The filmed (and suspiciously, meticulously art directed) execution videos produced by ISIS are a […]
"Its strengths are verbal and vocal. Even through the distortion of heavy reverb, the four women (Mona Gamil, Alaa Abdellateef, Salma Abdel Salam and Charlene Ibrahim) do pitch-perfect imitations of politicians and diplomats. In its parody of political speech, the script can be clever, with multi-sided ironies. The globe-spanning imperial titles of the new world order (“Her Majesty the Queen of Liberia and the American West Coast”) sound as absurd, and dangerous, as those of the old. The names of participants in a “cabaret for the colonies” scroll in an amusing list: Scarlett O’Sahara, Guantánamo Babe."
"It was quite a challenge to bring together a study of these places that are so complex so I wanted to be driven by ideas as my organizing principle," she said, “I didn't go country by country…. With the exception of Iran and Turkey, all of the countries featured here have gone through some form of colonial treatment in recent centuries so that is an important theme." The exhibition explores narratives of origin, ideologies of architecture and—most timely—the politics of migration."
"Zig Zig opens with five women sitting behind desks in a row at the back of the stage. One plays the violin, another reads an archival document that sets the scene, and the others mime leafing through documents. I liked this set-up. They move around and return to the desks, combining dance, song and acting. Each play different roles at different moments, reading from the archives, reflecting on them, acting as the military, the native prosecution or the women themselves giving testimony and answering harsh questions in the British military court."
“I don’t really understand what ambition means. I take things one piece at a time. I’m excited about working on something, that’s all. I didn’t know what was going to happen next, and I still don’t. I don’t know if I think in terms of a career. I don’t have a strategy. It’s just the next show. I used to say to my father: ‘I’m lucky: I got this, or that.’ And he would say: ‘No, no, you deserve it. You’ve been working hard.’ But I was determined: ‘No, it’s all luck.’ I feel things happen accidentally.”
An administrative court has annulled a ministerial decision to grant powers of arrest to the musicians and actors syndicates, according to the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR). Last September, then-Minister of Justice Ahmed al-Zend issued a decree granting six council members of the Actors Syndicate – including the syndicate’s president and secretary general – judicial police powers, to be used in instances where the laws regulating the syndicate, its memberships or artistic production have been violated.
Continued neglect for the heritage of the Egyptian Surrealist movement, despite a resurgence in interest abroad, raises questions about the politics of culture in Egypt.
“They’re not there to talk about gender, but obviously it stems from a feminine and feminist perspective,” said Hafez. And, as there is a prevalent American media depiction of Middle Eastern women as disempowered, audience members who entered the venue drunk on that spiked Kool-Aid were likely to leave sobered up by the diversity and evident power of the performers. Said choreographer and NYLA artistic director Bill T. Jones, who conceived the festival with Kriegsmann, “We think [women from the MENA region] are oppressed or deluded. Then we see these women expressing themselves as individuals. That’s important for us to see.”
"On 25 January 2014, thousands of people gathered in Tahrir Square to celebrate the third anniversary of the Egyptian revolution. On that day, only the supporters of the army and the actions of its commander in chief were admitted into the square. The Muslim Brotherhood and opposition protests taking place in the vicinity were immediately crushed with tear gas and live ammunition. The proximity of the celebrations and the killings led many journalists to call it a day of 'death and dance'. The festive crowd was likened to a 'hysterical choir of fear'."