Bseiso’s article examines how art production was understood during a particular moment in Egypt’s political and cultural history. It examines the ways understandings of art were liberated from the former (and predominant) understanding of art as an elitist, private endeavor located in private/socially restrictive spaces to one of an open, accessible, spontaneous, and at times communal art whose natural location became the street. This liberated understanding of an art that could be created by anyone, anytime, and anywhere emphasized the importance of accessibility and art’s connection to its social and political context, as well as to the community at large. Through a localized, contextualized study that puts at the forefront conversations and interviews with cultural producers and artists in Cairo, it argues that understandings of revolutionary art during the Egyptian revolution (from its beginning in January 2011 to arguably its end in the aftermath of the events in Rab’a in August 2013) came in the creation—the doing—of art rather than the actual artwork itself.
Art in the Egyptian Revolution: Liberation and Creativity
Rounwah Adly Riyadh Bseiso is a final-year PhD candidate at the Centre for Media and Film Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). Bseiso has worked for the United Nations (UN-Habitat and UNHCR), as well as Gulf University for Science and Technology. She has published a chapter in the edited book Narrating Conflict in the Middle East: Discourse, Image and Communications Practices in Lebanon and Palestine (I. B. Tauris, 2013), as well as the edited collection (part of the Protest, Media, and Culture series) titled artWORK: Art, Labour, and Activism (Rowman and Littlefield, 2017). Bseiso currently works at the American University of Kuwait.
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Rounwah Adly Riyadh Bseiso; Art in the Egyptian Revolution: Liberation and Creativity. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 1 August 2018; 38 (2): 344–353. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/1089201x-6982112
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