“The Lion”, the main protagonist of this installation, was conceived in 2008 to convey the artist’s feeling of being locked inside a narrow cage and enshrouded in scrolls like a mummy. These were feelings of frustration, sadness, and loneliness.
“I always dreamt of being a lion, fearless and valiant. I knew then that there were tribes that take the name of lion such as Beni Assad and Ghadanfar. So many times have I been told: “be lion hearted” and I always felt that my masculine aspirations drove me towards being a lion. The courageous are lions and I saw the tattoo on Abou Zeid El Hilaly’s arm as two lions carrying a sword. For so long I wished to wear that tattoo. I even wished I could have two lions such as those on kasr El Nil Bridge standing on my doorsteps. Be a lion so that all animals would fear you. The lion is the jungle king. Hence, the lion, my childhood idol, was developing within my inner self. And it never crossed my mind to live such a moment of opposition between the “self-lion” developing within my imagination since early childhood and the other lion. For many times has the lion been one of the symbols of our culture: in books, folk songs as well as in liberal and patriotic songs. But now, I live the shattering of a lion that for long survived within my inner self. This might be a death for a new life that is more powerful. Thus, I saw the lion in the shape of a mummy that will be resurrected. And I saw my powerful lion bonded with medical tissue and wrapped in wires with a masked face, simulating thus, Horus the guardian of heaven or Anobis the guardian of the dead. A defeated lion in its cage, lonely and submissive; a body with no hope, yawning lazily like a full cat. However, looking into its eyes, I felt scared feeling a deep historical fear that shakes those who see through these eyes. Two deep eyes that tell it is the next life. A life that could frightful.”
The Lion installation not only reflects a personal vision, but symbolizes the common experience of the people of Egypt, their desire for freedom and their dreams of a better future. The artist could never imagine that, two years after the presentation of this installation, the lion would really break out of the cage to fight for freedom. His spirit and courage exploded during the recent revolution Egypt, carried out by young and old people alike.
As Italophile, we wish our neighbor Egypt, a greater tomorrow.
Born in the Egyptian city of Tanta, Abou El Naga studied art and received his PhD in art philosophy in 1997. He was the first Middle Eastern artist to receive a grant from the Japan Foundation to study the arts of papermaking. In the past two decades, Abouelnaga made several solo shows in Egypt and around the world that varied between painting, video and installation. He also represented Egypt in the Venice Biennale 2002 and received the First Prize of the Alexandria Biennial in 2001. In 2009, he was assigned to become the curator of the 25th Alexandria Biennial for Mediterranean Countries that will open December 17, 2009. www.abouelnaga.com
Anna Dusi born in Milano, graduated from “Marcello Dudovich Art School” began creating painting uncharacteristic “human beings” and “objects” with a unique technique. In the late 90’s she moved to New York City where she reached a greater artistic awareness of her surrounding environment. Since then she didn’t stopped searching for search and experimenting with new forms of life in her works. Anna currently lives and works in Los Angeles.
Marisa Caichiolo born in Argentina in the Province of Santa Fe in 1974. Always interested in mysticism and understanding the inner self of people, she studied Fine Art and Psychology. Her works have been showcased in Brazil, Mexico, France, Spain, Japan, Korea, Argentina as well as in New York and Los Angeles, within the United States. Marisa’s work infuses elements of mysticism, interests in ancestral colors and symbolism. Combining various techniques and styles, she often allows her work images and forms to fluctuate between realism and surrealism. She moves to Los Angeles in 2000 to work as a Color Designer for movies, she did “The Thornberrys Movie” and “Rugrats go wild”, Klasky Csupo, Nikelodeon and Paramount Pictures. After 2003 she works in her studio and dedicate her life to her son Santino and her artwork.
ADC Contemporary Art Gallery – Factory Place Art Complex – 1330 Factory Place BUILDING I – Arts District, Downtown Los Angeles, California, USA 90013 – www.adccontemporaryartgallery.com
The exhibition will run from May 28th to June. Opening Reception May 28th. 7 PM with the artist.