Notions of social upheaval have subtly expressed themselves in artist Sherin Guirguis’ work for some time. The Duwamah series (rip current) draws upon events resulting in the so-called “Arab Spring”, but particularly in the artist’s native Egypt. The protests in Tahrir Square that resulted in the overthrow of the Mubarak regime influenced both the content and the formal iteration of this series of work. This revolution carried with it the potential for both a new democracy or an even more oppressive political regime and it is this threshold moment that she investigates. Due to restrictions on journalists during the final days of the Mubarak regime, reporting and documentation of the revolution were restricted to a single disseminated aerial shot of the square, sanctioned by the government. Tahrir Square, famed in Cairo for having no central monument, came to resemble a solar system or wheel from a helicopter’s aerial vantage point. Protestors have flowed and continue now to flow in and out of the concentric circles of the square; an inner circle of tents, enclosed in a circle of protestors who are in turn encircled by army, police and tanks. This series of concentric circles has, for the artist, become a cipher or vessel for the revolution. Tahrir Square asserts an overarching influence on the art in Duwamah, serving as a microcosm of the current global political moment, a permeable global culture fueled by transparency and the interconnectedness fostered by new modes of communication.
Photo Credit: Panic Studio L.A.