It is now just over a decade since protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square started Egypt's chapter in the events of the Arab Spring. Much has been made in western criticism of art and culture's role in the revolution, but the everyday cultural production of studio artists, graffiti artists, musicians, and writers since has attracted less attention. How have artists responded personally and artistically to the political transformation ? What has social role of art been in these periods of transition and uncertainty? What are the aesthetic shifts and stylistic transformations present in the contemporary Egyptian art world?
Caroline Seymour-Jorn speaks with Pierre d'Alancaisez about her many years of research in Cairo that goes beyond the current understandings of creative work solely as a form of resistance or political commentary, providing a more nuanced analysis of creative production in the Arab world. Caroline suggests that young artists like Hany Rashed or The Choir Project have turned their creative focus increasingly inward, to examine issues having to do with personal relationships, belonging and inclusion, and maintaining hope in harsh social, political and economic circumstances.
Caroline Seymour-Jorn is professor of comparative literature and Arabic translation at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the author of Cultural Criticism in Egyptian Women's Writing, 2011.
Pierre d’Alancaisez is a contemporary art curator, cultural strategist, researcher. Sometime scientist, financial services professional.