Last January, less than a year after crowds in Cairo's Tahrir Square overthrew Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts presented "Histories of Now: Six Artists from Cairo." That exhibit's videos felt like fresh, raw dispatches — including protest footage from an artist killed in the revolution.
Now a year later, the promise and possibilities of the movement have coagulated into the frustrating realities of the new government not living up to the revolution's ideals. And the school's Grossman Gallery returns to the subject with "Histories of Now: A Space for Dialogue, Art and Activism."
"It's a continuation," says curator Joanna Soltan. "The title is still correct. It's still 'Histories of Now.' But the now is different."
This new project centers on community discussions, teach-ins, a library, documentary screenings, and a rock band, all in the mode of "relational aesthetics" and "social practice art." The lineup (see website for schedule) includes Skype conversations with artists who participated in last year's exhibit as well as writer Mohamed Salmawy and BBC journalist Shaimaa Khalil. It's about "creative action" rather than art on the walls.
"The stress will be on dialogue," Soltan says, and "how various forms of creative communication influence history."
"HISTORIES OF NOW" :: School of the Museum of Fine Arts, 230 the Fenway, Boston :: 617.267.6100 :: smfa.edu/egypt-dialogue:: Through March 12
: Museum And Gallery
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