A painting from Amado Alfadni's 'Exodus' series includes motifs from both Egyptian and Sudanese culture.

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'Nuba Mountain Warrior' by Amado Alfadni

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Amado Alfadni in action.

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A painting from Amado Alfadni's 'Exodus' series includes motifs from both Egyptian and Sudanese culture.

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Slideshow images courtesy of Amado Alfadni.

 

Amado Alfadni - Giving Egypt's Communities a Voice through Interactive Art

Many people are familiar with Cairo's Islamic and Christian monuments and its position as home to the world famous Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square. But few are aware of the Egyptian capital's vibrant and busy art scene, where many local artists and designers are creating pieces that inspire change and mobilize the Egyptian community.

 

Amado Alfadni is an Egyptian-born Sudanese artist, whose creations have been featured at major venues all over the world, including the Cairo Opera House, the Goethe Institute, the Arab League Headquarters, the Mattress Factory Art Museum in Pittsburg and most recently the UAMO Art Festival in Munich.

 

Amado's childhood was composed of two environments: the Cairene street and the Sudanese home. The relationship, and sometimes tension, between the two have influenced strongly his view of both cultures. The need to express this dual perspective is what led Amado to make art initially, and has informed his work since.

 

Working across a variety of media, Amado draws on the character of the city for inspiration, using motifs and textures found in junk markets, antique shops, old and modern advertising, and ancient monuments. "My images are rooted in place but not in time, often incorporating ancient, historical, and modern elements at once," says the Cairo-based artist. "This juxtaposition, in addition to exploring the diverse composition of the city, often leads to an exploration of confrontation or conflict with the other."

 

Recently, Amado has been driven to installation and interactive art. The referendum in South Sudan and the Egyptian revolution have inspired him to document and make statements about current events. "Since the beginning of the Egyptian revolution I have been reacting to it in my work," says Amado. "The revolution was made by the public, so I wanted to do work made with the public instead of just about them." 

 

With a fervor rarely seen, Amado moved out of the galleries and into the streets, directing his energy into working with the public and creating 

interactive pieces that focus on opening dialogues and giving the public a voice.

 

One of his most engaging projects has been "If I Were President", which was featured at Cairo's Artellewa Gallery in 2012. 

 

The idea for the project came from the presidential campaign posters that started taking over the public spaces in Cairo during the 2012 presidential elections. The posters had slogans or huge pictures of the candidate, but there was no efort at a dialogue with the public. This one-sided relationship, in which the candidate makes a promise to the people without explaining how to achieve it or even what it might mean, drove Amado to make posters with which the Egyptian public could have their own presidential campaign.

 

Each poster Amado produced was a blank space where people could write what they wanted, but where others could also edit or add their own ideas.

 

"That every poster in the city [would] say something different while being part of the same campaign [has highlighted] that we cannot sum up what the people of Egypt need in one phrase."

 

Continuing to explore those parts of the media that enforce how people 

see themselves and those that enforce how others see them, Amado aims to show the public how those beliefs can empower or disempower an entire [people].

 

"I want to show people a different image from what they percieve as reality. I want to encourage people to discuss [...] questions they’ve never even had the chance to actually consider." 

 

Learn more about Amado Alfadni and his work at: 

http://www.amadoalfadni.com/

Photo courtesy of Amado Alfadni.

 

A multimedia piece from Amado Alfadni's earlier work (Image courtesy of Amado Alfadni).

A campaign poster created by Amado Alfadni as part of his "If I Were Presdient" project exhibits the thoughts and ideas of Egyptian citizens (courtesy of Amado Alfadni).