'If they want war, we want peace': Artist Basiouny, who left us on the Friday of Anger

Ahram Online , Thursday 28 Jan 2016

One of the most important artists of his generation, Ahmed Basiouny was killed in the 28 January battle during the 18-day uprising against Mubarak five years ago

Ahmed Basiouny
Ahmed Basiouny, from YouTube video: "Basiony - Part 1"

"It is necessary to be fully equipped while participating in the revolution; a bottle of vinegar to overcome the tear gas, protective masks and tissues to inhale vinegar, self-defense sprays, athletic shoes, Pradoral tablets, food and drinks… It is prohibited to use violence against security agents and to insult them. Vandalism is also forbidden for this is our country. Bring a camera with you and don’t be afraid or weak."

These were the words the late Egyptian artist Ahmed Basiouny wrote on 27 January, 2011 on his Facebook page, one day before he was hit by sniper fire and then crushed under a police car in Tahrir Square.

According to the testimonies of his family and friends, Basiouny brought his camera to the square since day one of the 25 January revolution.

He also called on everyone else to bring their cameras to document the unfolding of the revolution.

Basiouny wanted everyone to capture the moments that he thought were the most precious in Egypt's history, which he called the days of "dignity regained.”

“I have a lot of hope if we stay like this. Riot police beat me a lot [on first days of the revolution]. Nevertheless I will go down again tomorrow. If they want war, we want peace. I am just trying to regain some of my nation’s dignity," he posted on 26 January on his Facebook account.

Basiouny was born in Cairo in 1978, graduated from the Faculty of Art Education at Helwan University in 2000, and worked as an assistant teacher at Helwan University.

He earned a Masters degree in "the expressionist dimensions of the sound effects and their effect on the work of art structure" in 2004.

Shady El-Noshokaty, a visual artist and one of Basiouny’s colleagues, described him in an article published on 13 February 2011 as "one of the most important artists of the new generation of contemporary Egyptian artists."

"His practice varied greatly and evolved rapidly in the past 10 years. His early large-scale expressionistic paintings won him the first prize in painting in the 2001 Youth Salon. Then his work took a turn in a more experimental direction involving new media and multimedia installations. Then he focused his academic study on digital sound art," El-Noshokaty.

Basiouny started to showcase in group and personal exhibitions since 1997, contributing to 16 group exhibitions and one personal from 1997- 2007.

He won seven awards, starting with competitions held inside his college then others held on national scale, winning the Grand prize of the Youth Salon in 2007.

Basiouny was fond of experimental art. Among his notable achievements was a series of workshops in Fagala suburb where he initiated a project of colouring the streets of Fagala with a group of young artists in cooperation with the local children.

Basiouny left behind a wife and two children, and great memories and inspiration in the minds of many young Egyptian artists.

In 2011, Basiouny's work represented Egypt in a solo exhibition at the 54th Venice Biennale.

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