Born in Cairo, Egypt in 1974, Amal Kenawy studied film and fashion design at the Cinema Institute and received an undergraduate degree in painting from the Faculty of Fine Arts at Helwan University in 1999.
Beginning her career while studying in Egypt, Kenawy quickly gained recognition for her multimedia works and installations, winning the UNESCO Grand Prize at the International Cairo Biennale. Later she received the Pro-Helvetia Swiss Arts Council artist residency in 2004.
Amal Kenawy passed away 21 of August, we post this article is in her memory.
Jacques, shall I talk to you about the room?
The room is the title of the performance the woman with the wedding dress… Amal is concerned with the idea of the self. She explored the concept of the body or rep(resentation) of the body as a vessel for emotions which defines her being from nothingness.
Does this make sense?
Well, she is talking about the vessel the human body or the representations of such (the dress) as something fragile and minimal. Something which you are constantly defining and building or ‘tailoring’ as you rethink and redefine the idea of self; tailoring like the woman tailoring the idea of herself as a bride, I think.
Well, bride is a bit obvious but that is the period of her life she is talking about – one and half years of being married and she stopped working as an artist and began thinking about these concepts.
This brings a question… Is she happy?
Well she is quite a dark person but I would not say she is unhappy. I really was impressed with her and enjoyed her.
To me the reference and the use of a wedding gown to express the frailty of feeling and appearance is kind of a give away that she may have given too much and tries to express that. I may be totally wrong.
Parce que la question était très simplifiée et je ne sais pas ses true emotions. (Because the question was simple and I do not know her true feelings)
Frozen is one of her other works.
If you saw the film which I cannot show as it is copyrighted and I cannot reproduce to anyone – you would say (that) she is definitively depressed but it is not that simple with her, as a woman and as a wife.
I think the concept of marriage, young (recent) marriage for her is not the issue. It (the issues) was her redefining herself… maybe she was not happy to be married – peut ètre, mais it is her questioning of who she is which is important and the marriage gave her time to think and rediscover this.
No… No… Not what she lost – it is who she is, who she thinks she is, that all she is a young Arab girl who got married? I don’t believe this is what she is conveying – but it is an effective statement as people relate to it on so many levels and the wedding dress is very open and (it) speaks to many.
Transcript via amal.ws
Images courtesy of Townhouse gallery