Amal Kenawy

Egypt 1974-2012.

"When I search within myself, I perceive a self that has an independent existence and that contains a set of laws which rule and govern the body as a physical entity. However, the existence of a self does not correspond to its individuality, hence my continuous attempt to define my relationship to being and to nothingness.

I don't think of my work as feminist in the traditional sense of the word. I view it as artwork made by a female artist. In a way, I am concerned with memory and hidden emotions such as desire and violence. I see my creative process as a tool for expression rather than a means to produce a final artwork. On a technical level, I try to create a visual language accessible to different audiences, a language that transcends the specificities of culture, be it Eastern or Western. I view such a universal language as the absolute means of articulating and discussing emotions as they themselves are universal.

My works focus on presenting images of my society. They may take on a political dimension but my approach to my subjects is on a much more personal level. I do not refer to the causes of certain issues or events or even the events themselves as they relate to a particular society as a whole. Instead, I always search for their results, for the effect that these issues and events have on the individual. This approach stems from my understanding of the part as a model for the whole.

I may have a heart that beats and functions regularly, but I cannot confirm that I am alive. Emotions inhabit this human frame and make a vessel of it. These abstracted/removed emotions, that fluctuate between making up my memories and my dreams, appear to mea s constituting my true self, a self that I can see clearly, beyond the narrow confines of my body."

- Excerpt from Amal Kenawy, published by Darat al Funun - The Khalid Shoman Foundation, 2007
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