Wael Shawky

Egypt 1971. Lives and works in Alexandria.

Wael Shawky stayed in residence at Darat al Funun in 2009, during which time he created his work Larvae Channel 2, a ten-minute animation exploring the recycling of language and the depletion of linguistic meaning among Palestinian refugees in Jordan. In the same year, he also curated an exhibition at Darat al Funun featuring 8 artists chosen from Egypt's 20th Youth Salon.

Wael Shawky’s 2009 exhibition at Darat al Funun showcased his reflection on culture, religion, and politics. The exhibition featured the 10-minute video Larvae Channel 2, produced by the Egyptian artist during his residency. The exhibition presented his Télématch Sadat and Al-Aqsa Park, and also premiered Télématch Crusades from Shawky’s Télématch series.

In his work Wael Shawky explores transitional events in culture, religion, and politics. These concerns have been brought into sharp focus since the Arab Spring. Al-Aqsa Park is an animated film installation showing the Dome of the Rock, a renowned icon of Palestinian-Israeli conflict in Jerusalem. The second Intifada was sparked when Ariel Sharon, then leader of the Israeli Likud Party, paid it a provocative visit in 2000.

In Al-Aqsa Park Shawky displays the Dome as a controlled fairground carousel, rising and rotating, with lights blinking, reflective of both the state of the surrounding political situation as well as the exploitation of the Dome itself within the conflict.

Recent exhibitions have been held at ARoS, Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Denmark; MoMA PS1, New York; K20 Düsseldorf; Serpentine Galleries, London; KW Contemporary Art Institute, Berlin; and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. He has participated in Lahore Biennale, Pakistan; Desert X, Al Ula, Saudi Arabia; 14th Istanbul Biennial, Turkey; 11th Sharjah Biennial, UAE; Documenta 13, Kassel, Germany; 9th Gwangju Biennial, South Korea; and 50th Venice Biennale, Italy. In 2010, Shawky founded the educational space MASS Alexandria.