Cabaret Crusades: The Path to Cairo, 2012
HD video, color, sound, 60:53 min.
Courtesy the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut
Born 1971 in Alexandria, Egypt
Lives and works in Alexandria, Egypt
Wael Shawky studied art at Alexandria University and the University of Pennsylvania. He founded the art school MASS Alexandria in 2010, where students are invited to attend seminars and workshops and also travel abroad. In his work, which ranges from photographs and drawings to installations, performance, and videos, multimedia artist Shawky deals with questions of history, culture, religion, and the globalized world. He is known above all for his 2012 film The Cabaret Crusades, in which he retells with puppets the story of the Crusaders from the Middle-Eastern perspective, thus questioning the notion of a single truth. Other works deal with the indigenous culture of nomadic Bedouins, the role of contemporary art within the wider field of world culture, and the notion of faith in a profane world. Shawky’s work has been exhibited at the Serpentine Gallery, London (2013); Documenta 13 (2012); the nineth Gwangju Biennale (2012); the fourth Marrakech Biennial, Morocco (2012); the twelfth Istanbul Biennial (2011); and the fiftieth Venice Biennale (2003). The Tate Modern, London, and Museum of Modern Art, New York, own his works. Shawky received the Ernst Schering Foundation Art Award in 2011.