Pop Art from North Africa

Pop Art from North Africa is group exhibition at Casa Árabe, Madrid, including SFSIA alum artist Ahmed El Shaer’s (NYC ’19) video game “Struggle in the Nile” on view until December 1st, 2019.

 

Pop Art in North Africa

Curated by Najlaa El Ageli (Libya) and Toufik Douib (Algeria), this exhibition bears witness to the strong doses of wit, humor, satire and versatility existing in the emerging art of countries like Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Sudan, Morocco, Egypt and Mauritania.

The fresh feel of a large part of the artistic production in the Arab world is now expressed by many young creators through a playfulness and interpretation of icons from pop culture. The show Pop Art, curated by Najlaa El Ageli (Libya) and Toufik Douib (Algeria) bears witness to the strong doses of wit, humor, satire and versatility which characterize the emerging art that can be found on social networks, in online publications and in different forms of cultural expression in countries like Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Sudan, Morocco, Egypt and Mauritania, despite the difficult or unstable environments which these countries are dealing with at the present time.

One of the recurring themes in this exhibition is the unprejudiced reflection on the artists’ own societies, including the conflicts and taboos there, which turn the artists into public commentators on their immediate surroundings. However, in much the same way, the constant, celebratory references, in a globalized world, to symbols and icons from pop culture and tradition, some national and others shared, in what is a sort of twenty-first century pan-Arabism, show a certain way of understanding North African identity. This reinterpretation also involves critical interaction with certain Western products, celebrating the peculiar way they are reappropriated in North Africa or, to use a term attributed by the exhibition’s curators, their “Maghrebization.”

In short, these are artistic practices which explore different ways of reconciling the supposed contradiction between tradition and modernity, in line with many of the reflections brought up by the pioneers of Western pop art. The exhibition includes works completed in a wide range of media, including photo montages, collages, paintings, video, installations and sound creations.

The exhibition has works by the following artist: Alla Budabbus, Rasha Amin, Dhafer Ben Khalifa, El-3OU, Malak El-Ghuel, Sarah Basma Harnafi, Ilyes Messaoudi, El-Moustach, Qarm Qart, Ahmed El-Shaer, Amy Sow, Ghita Benlamlih, Abdulrahman Al-Nazeer, Combo, Skanderous, Rayan Nasir, The Yellow Man, Amado Alfadni, Dar Al Naim.

Pop Art from North Africa Image: Birdcaged (El Moustach)

Information:

October 4th – December 1st, 2019

Casa Árabe, Madrid