'Dust' exhibition; symposium to examine Egypt's empty architectural spaces

Ahram Online, Thursday 10 May 2012

Townhouse Gallery exhibits Swedish artist Xenia Nikolskaya's photographic exploration into Egypt's abandoned buildings; Rawabet theatre to host 'Tracing Time' symposium discussing accompanying exhibition book and themes


Dust" by Swedish artist  Xenia Nikolskaya is a photographic exploration into Egypt's abandoned architectural spaces with texts story-telling the featured places, that is currently exhibiting at the Townhouse Gallery, Downtown Cairo. On 12 May, Rawabet Theatre will host a book launch of the artist's accompanying exhibition book "Tracing Time" and a symposium featuring Nikolskaya and historians, researchers, architects and theorists who will discuss the architectural legacy of the region from the project's perspectives.

Among the speakers will be Shaimaa Ashour, Vittoria Capresi, Mohamed El-Shahed and Ola Seif.

The Swedish photographer's current exhibition explores the conditions and relevance of these empty places in Egypt. It also, explains the exhibition description explains, presents "an entwined dualism: dust as materiality that layers the city, literally tracing the passage of time" and also as a "temporal metaphor that registers these changes on the level of memories, both past and present."

The artist started her documentation journey in 2006. She closely followed Egyptian architecture constructed in Egypt during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as these spaces were rapidly being demolished to make way for new buildings in order to deal with the overpopulation crisis that Egyptian cities continue to face. 

Despite being the subject of her camera frame, a number of the spaces depicted in her photographs have already been razed to the ground.

“Dust” was completed in January 2011 with the accompanying book which has now been released by Dewi Lewis Publishing with a total of 70 images from thirty locations across Egypt including Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor, Minya, Esna, Port Said and villages around the Delta.

The symposium will take place from 4pm till 7pm and there will be translation from English to Arabic.


- Exhibition started 6 May and runs through 13 June

Townhouse Gallery, First Floor space, 10 Nabrawy Street, off Champollion Street, Downtown Cairo.

- Symposuim is set to take place 12 May from 4pm till 7pm

Rawabet Theater, 2 Hussein El Me'mar St off Mahmoud Bassiouni St, next to Townhouse Gallery

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