Egyptian culture has always had an affinity for the arts; something that is reflected in the fact that prestigious contemporary art exhibition, the Venice Biennale, has housed a permanent Egyptian pavilion for our artistic comrades to exhibit in since 1952.
Though the pavilion has only been filled at six editions of the exhibition – which is held every two years – participating Egyptian artists have always left an impression on visitors, critics and curators alike.
This year is no different.
Mohamed Banawy and Khaled Zaki have answered this year’s theme of The Encyclopedic Palace, with Treasuries of Knowledge; an entry that brings together an instillation made of bronze, steel and granite sculptures and two large mosaics.
As the man behind the instillation, as well a being the curator, Zaki has explained that Treasuries of Knowledge aims to explore man’s journey from beginning to end, all the while delving into mankind’s search for truth, experience and something intangible.
On his website, mosaic artist, Banawy, says of his pieces at the biennale:
“During my traveling, these shots and scenes that I used to watch from a plane are stuck into my head. That was the main reason behind applying these epic scenes in my work. Every unit is in fact a person, a car, a house or a factory.”
Egypt’s only award at the Venice Biennale came in 1995, when Akram El Magdoub, Hamdi Attia, Medhat Shafik and Khaled Shokry won the Leone d’Oro for Best Pavilion; but Banawy and Zaki’s entry has been marked by many as potential winners. Fingers crossed; Egypt needs something to celebrate.