Yesterday was the virtual VIP preview of ArteEast's [also virtual] exhibition THE LEGACY TRILOGY.
I gotta say, even though virtual openings cannot compare to the real thing, it was so so nice to see some familiar faces yesterday (folks like Heba Alkayal, Bassem Yousri, Hadieh Shafie, and Shaymaa Aziz) as well as new faces (like Olivia Farahat, Beth Stryker, Sofia Zubi, and more!).
The roster of artwork and talent on display is simply phenomenal. No two artists in the 50 participating are alike and it really goes to show you the breadth and diversity of expression and craft coming from artists of the MENA region and its diaspora. It's humbling to have my work on display alongside such stellar works. Hopefully we get to do it again in meatspace... one day.
I've been meaning to write for quite a while now, and in particular following the recent Texas blackout. It raised all kinds of thoughts I had in regards to capitalism vis-à-vis failed states, but it also had me playing catch up with much work in need of getting done. That, together with some sudden health issues in addition to a growing child in demand of constant attention has reduced one's days to a consecutive series of stolen moments. 🤪
All I can afford right now is a quick mention of a couple of work things:
Climate change has flooded the Global North and a terrible pandemic has decimated White populations. In comes a museum in the Egyptian city of Tanta to commemorate the history of white people, now reduced to a minority in need of aid. Ahmed Naji writes and I draw for ARTS OF THE WORKING CLASS.
Chatted with Radix Media's Sarah Lopez about some process stuff regarding THE SOLAR GRID for this year's [virtual] Printed Matter festival! (You can check it out by clicking here and scrolling down-Be sure to check out many of their other wonderful books on offer too!)
Did the cover art for FLAP MY WINGS, the album, which The Lazours dropped on January 25th. I've been listening to the thing on repeat since, memories from 10 years ago rushing back and igniting feelings of anguish, empowerment, and inspiration. The album is a tour de force and includes powerful collaborations with the likes of Hamed Sinno, Ramy Essam, and Emel Mathlouthi!
Video Art for FLAP MY WINGS, a song by The Lazours, brought to life with the animation magic of Paul MacLachlan. Conceived with Taibi Magar, and executive produced by Madeleine Bersin.
Vocals: The Lazours
Guitar: Daniel Lazour
Piano and arrangement: Madeline Smith
Bass/qanun: John Murchison
Percussion: Jeremy Smith
Violin: Bengisu Gokce
Cello: Naseem Alatrash
Select orchestrations: Michael Starobin
Mixing: Robin Buyer
Mastering: Ryan Schwabe
Every year I get in a mood. Every goddamn year, no matter how hard I try not to.
It's been 10 years. Ten years since the impossible was attempted. Ten years since got a taste of true freedom. Since we attempted to take ownership of our lives and alter our world to the better. Since ego was set aside for the greater collective.
Ten fucking years. I anticipated a few hiccups along the way, but 10 years?
Covid-living is starting to get to me (for like the 3rd or 4th time in the past year probably), so I've taken to fixing myself an elaborate cafe au lait on an almost daily basis now. Not quite bored enough to start messing with foam art, but if things persist I may just get there.
Only halfway through the first month of 2021, and already there are projects. Still more to surface over the next few weeks. Had a great editorial meeting with the Radix crew recently on marketing, production, and some slight restructuring pertaining to THE SOLAR GRID, which I should be able to get back to work on by February.
I have managed to resist all speaking engagements related to the 10th anniversary of the Egyptian uprising of 2011, except this one: FLAP MY WINGS: 10 YEARS SINCE TAHRIR SQUARE because what The Lazours have done with their LIVE IN CAIRO musical and subsequent FLAP MY WINGS album is a truly phenomenal way to carry forth the narrative of the revolution. I can only be so proud to be involved in any way.
It may not look like it yet, but the illustration I'm working on is for an essay that feels very timely with everything going on right now, penned by none other than Ahmed Naji.
Background listening is The Ottoman History Podcast, in particular a surprisingly rich episode on Mamluk Cairo. Surprising because it gets into some delicious details I knew little to nothing about; like the wandering carnivalesque peoples known as Al Ghurabaa` (“The Strangers”) and the odd jobs they performed, the fluid mix of tongues they spoke, and perhaps most interestingly of all... their printing.
“The Strangers” were the first to introduce printing to Egypt apparently, likely some form of woodblock printing (tin matrices were also employed), in languages ranging from Arabic to Coptic and Hebrew (and quite possibly more). Excited to learn more on the subject matter from Kristina Richardson's upcoming book; GYPSIES IN THE MEDIEVAL ISLAMIC WORLD: A HISTORY OF THE GHURABA, forthcoming with Bloomsbury Publishers.
It was in March last year when the Getty Museum in Los Angeles got in touch to record an interview on mythology, propaganda, and culture. This in conjunction with an exhibition they'd been planning on Assyrian art.
Armed with that recording and a few images of my work, Logan then went off and put together this short but striking video: