When Art Becomes Liberty

Image courtesy of Sharjah Art Foundation

Ahmed Morsi | When Art Becomes Liberty: The Egyptian Surrealists (1938-1965)
Palace of Arts in Cairo

The Egyptian Surrealists (1938-1965)

Installation Views

Focusing on the evolution of the Egyptian Surrealist group and their relationship with their Western and international counterparts, this exhibition documents a pivotal chapter of modernism in Egypt that spans from the late 1930s to the early 1960s, and highlights the multifaceted aspects of modernity and its global interconnectedness in the 20th century.

This is the first major exhibition to examine this important period and the artists and art groups that were active at the time.

More than 150 works have been brought together, many for the first time, including substantial loans from important Egyptian public and private collections that have never before been toured outside of the country. The exhibition expands upon a 2015 conference Egyptian Surrealists in Global Perspective organised by Sharjah Art Foundation in collaboration with the Institute for Comparative Modernities at Cornell University and the Visual Cultures Program at the American University in Cairo.

Alongside the exhibition a range of publications will be produced including a collection of the papers presented at the 2015 Surrealists conference, a reprint of journals originally published in the 1940s including ‘Al – Tatuwur’ and ‘The Other Text’ as well as a selection of other archival material.

When Art Becomes Liberty: The Egyptian Surrealists (1938-1965) has been curated by Sharjah Art Foundation Director Hoor Al Qasimi, Dr Salah M. Hassan, Goldwin Smith Professor and Director, Institute for Comparative Modernities, Cornell University, Ehab Ellaban, Ufuq Gallery, Cairo, and Nagla Samir, American University in Cairo.

When Art Becomes Liberty: The Egyptian Surrealists (1938–1965) will travel to the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA), Deoksugung, Seoul (28 April-30 July 2017), following its inaugural presentation at the Palace of Arts in Cairo (28 September–28 October 2016).