Egyptian artists Ganzeer and Bassem Yousri engage in dialogue with visual artist, archivist and educator Lara Baladi about the trajectories of their art practice in the past ten years.
March 27, 3PM EDT
Watch the recording here.
Presented in association with ArteEast’s fundraising exhibition Legacy Trilogy: Past, Present, Future.
Described as a “chameleon” by Carlo McCormick in the New York Times, Ganzeer operates seamlessly between art, design, and storytelling, creating what he has coined: Concept Pop. As described by Artforum, his medium of choice is “a little bit of everything: stencils, murals, paintings, pamphlets, comics, installations, and graphic design.”
With over 40 exhibitions to his name, Ganzeer’s work has been seen in a wide variety of art galleries, impromptu spaces, alleyways, and major museums around the world, such as The Brooklyn Museum in New York, The Palace of the Arts in Cairo, Greek State Museum in Thessaloniki, the V&A in London, and the Edith Russ Haus in Oldenburg.
Ganzeer’s current projects include a short story collection titled TIMES NEW HUMAN, and a sci-fi graphic novel titled THE SOLAR GRID, which has awarded him a Global Thinker Award from Foreign Policy in 2016.
He has been an artist-in-residence in Germany, Poland, Jordan, Holland, and Finland, and has lived extensively in Cairo, New York, Los Angeles, Denver, and finally Houston—where he is now based.
Bassem Yousri is a visual artist, filmmaker, and art educator. He works with various forms that include mixed-media installations in galleries and public spaces and experimental and documentary films. Yousri’s work investigates issues related to the relationship between the everyday details and the larger socio-political context and between form and representation in the context of the exhibition space and public space. He relies on humor and sarcasm as a tool that can reach different audiences from diverse cultures.
Yousri’s work has been widely exhibited nationally and internationally. Some of the venues that featured his work include the Museum of the Moving Image (MoMI) in New York, USA; Centre Pompidou in Paris, France; Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE; Mathaf: the Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, Qatar; l’Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, France; the State Museum of Egyptian Art in Munich, Germany; and IVAM (Institut Valencià d’Art Modern) in Valencia; Spain. Yousri received his MFA in painting, drawing, and sculpture from Tyler School of Art – Temple University in Philadelphia in 2009 and received his BFA in painting from the School of Fine Arts – Helwan University in Cairo in 2003.
LARA BALADI (b.1969, Lebanon) is an internationally recognized Egyptian-Lebanese multi-disciplinary artist, archivist and educator. Her artistic practice spans from photography, video, sculpture to architecture and multi-media installations. Through a process of investigation into archives, her work examines the divide between reality, fiction and fantasy, while questioning memory, mythological and socio-political narratives, personal histories and History.
Since 1997, Baladi has made forays into archival research, directed magazine editorials and curated exhibitions. In 2006, Baladi founded the artist residency Fenenin el Rehal (Arabic, Nomadic Artists) in Egypt’s White Desert. She won the first prize (Grand Nile Award) at the Cairo Biennale in 2008-09 for her ephemeral construction and sound installation Borg El Amal (Arabic, The Tower of Hope).
Since 2011, under the umbrella title, Vox Populi, she has been gathering an archive of data on the 2011 Egyptian revolution and other global, past and present, social movements. Various projects, including media initiatives, art installations and publications, continue to stem from this ongoing archive on the iconography of protests.
Baladi’s social and political engagement goes beyond her artistic practice. For more than twenty years, she has been on the Board of two of the most influential institutions in the Middle East, the Arab Image Foundation in Lebanon, and the Townhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art in Egypt. In 2020, she joined the Board of directors of The Artists Sanctum, an American online Art initiative for creatives whose work contributes to social change.
A recipient of a Fellowship from the Japan Foundation in 2003, from MIT’s Open Documentary Lab in 2014, she was an artist in residency at Art Omi in 2014 (New York, USA), at MacDowell (New Hampshire, USA) and the Ida Ely Artist in Residence at MIT/CAST in 2015 among others. Since 2015, she has been a Lecturer in MIT’s Program in Art, Culture, and Technology (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).
Upcoming, in 2021, to mark a decade of protests across the world, from the 2011 Arab uprisings to other more recent global social movements, Baladi will exhibit and present Anatomy of a Revolution, an ABC of revolution. This project, which is the culmination of a decade of investigation into the history of protests and revolutions, will be published along with a publication by MIT Press & Sternberg.