The Valley of Walls

curated by Farida Youssef

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  • On view at
    21 Gamal Al Din Abou Al Mahasen, Garden City, Cairo, Egypt 
    October 12 - December 7, 2023
    Opening: Thu, Oct 12, 12:00

    starting October 12, 2023

Nada Baraka - Mohamed Elmaghraby - Hany Rahsed - Malak Yacout - Ahmed Ali Kamal
Egypt's late minister of irrigation, Ahmed Ali Kamal, was not just preoccupied with dams, pipes, and soil. He was also a keen photographer and traveler concerned with ethics. He held a unique relationship to the Nile shaped by environmental questions. He was an engineer who gave himself the task of preservation.

In The Valley of Walls, artworks intervene with Ali Kamal's archive which spans most of the twentieth century. His letters, reports, and technical drawings form the basis of archival-based art presented by Nada Baraka, Mohamed ElMaghraby, Hany Rashed, and Malak Yacout. The four artists find themselves in his abandoned apartment asking: Can the artworks' intervention have an ecological quality of its own?

The apartment becomes the environment the artists now seek to preserve. Dusted cabinets play host to drawings, forgotten cutlery caress paintings. Through site-specific installations, each artist forms a dialogue with the components and practices of this rich archive. El Maghraby and Yacout were inspired by documents pertaining to water management and each of them plays with narrative to highlight forgotten elements. Baraka and Rashed turn to the practice of classifying to enliven domestic spaces through memories they may have held. Installation as a medium reflects how the artists collaborate with the apartment and its unique ecology. Their immersive artworks awaken and preserve all at once.
Farida Youssef is a writer and curator based in Cairo. She holds an MA in European Philosophy with distinction from UCL. She is interested in the value of spatial theory for artistic inquiries. As a Merut fellow at the British Museum she researched the Egyptian collection through the lens of contemporary philosophy.

apexart’s program supporters past and present include the National Endowment for the Arts, Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, the Kettering Family Foundation, the Buhl Foundation, The Martin and Rebecca Eisenberg Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Spencer Brownstone, the Kenneth A. Cowin Foundation, Epstein Teicher Philanthropies, The Greenwich Collection Ltd., William Talbott Hillman Foundation/Affirmation Arts Fund, the Fifth Floor Foundation, the Consulate General of Israel in New York, The Puffin Foundation, the Trust for Mutual Understanding, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Governor and administered by LMCC, funds from NYSCA Electronic Media/Film in Partnership with Wave Farm: Media Arts Assistance Fund, with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, as well as the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.