MOHAMED ABOU EL NAGA/ Egypt
Abouelnaga's Cairo 11 wins 1st prize at Danube Festival (Arabic follows)
The danubeVIDEOARTfestival that ran 18 – 20 October 2013 in Austria has announced Cairo 11, the newest video by Egyptian visual artist Mohamed Abouelnaga as the winner of its first prize. Born in the Egyptian city of Tanta, Abouelnaga graduated with honors in 1983 from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Alexandria University then received his Master's Degree in 1992.
Four years later, he was the first Middle Eastern artist to receive a grant from the Japan Foundation allowing him to travel for six months to be part of a workshop under the supervision of pioneering Japanese artist Kyoko Ibe, where he incorporated experiences and techniques in the arts of manual paper-making between Washi Japanese paper and Egyptian papyrus. During this period, Abouelnaga also participated in a variety of art and technical workshops and realized a solo exhibition in the Japanese city of Kyoto. He had recent painting and video exhibitions in Los Angeles represented by Building Bridges Art Foundation, Doha, Dubai, Switzerland, and London.
About his video, Abouelnaga explained that the Egyptian long narrative film Cairo 30 (1966) as written by the late Egyptian Nobel Prize winner novelist Naguib Mahfouz, showed the social corruption and compromises made by the Elite to fulfill their intentions. Abouelnaga re-edited scenes of the classic film, juxtaposing and dissolving it with his own footage made from Tahrir Square and the murals recounting the Egyptian revolution of January 25, 2011. The dialogue of the classic film hence became the narration of the events of January 25.
Since 2010, the danubeVIDEOARTfestival presented contemporary international video art showing variety of representational possibilities allows creative use of technology and thematic issues. The latest trends in video art have been made accessible to the public as a snapshot of the ever-changing positions of its appearance, its images and its contents.
The danubeVIDEOARTfestival 2013 presented 64 video works from 30 countries are shown during the three days of the festival. The wide range of the selection and the tremendous response of artists underline the international relevance of this format. From 1 June to 31 August Roland Wegerer asked video artists from all around the world to submit their latest video works. This call was followed by 437 artists and groups from 65 countries. Thus 618 videos from Egypt, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Peru, Argentina, USA , Canada , Nigeria and a number of European countries were sent to Upper Austria . From these contributions Elisabeth Kramer, Larisa Colesnicov and Roland Wegerer selected in early September the final participants of this festival. These 64 videos represent a cross selection of all works submitted. The aim of this selection is to present a wide spectrum of contemporary video art. The Stadtkino Grein with its demanding cinematic programming of culturally and socially relevant themes is the perfect setting for this art form. The danubeVIDEOARTfestival was covered by Austria24TV that has accompanied the project in its decisive phase.