Lisson Gallery

International coverage for Wael Shawky's 'Drama 1882' for the Egypt Pavilion of La Biennale di Venezia 2024

26 April 2024

Wael Shawky, known for his captivating narratives blending history and fiction, presents Drama 1882 at the Egyptian Pavilion in the 60th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia. This work explores Egypt's nationalist Urabi revolution against British imperialism, using film as a medium. Shawky's rendition of a musical play delves into themes of national, religious, and artistic identity, framed within historical tradition. Sung in classical Arabic, the film reflects on the notion of 'foreigners' during the revolt, challenging contemporary perceptions. Departing from his usual style, Shawky incorporates drama and slow-motion visuals, creating a moving painting-like composition. The exhibition includes vitrines, sculpture, paintings, drawings, and a mirror relief. Concurrently, Shawky opens a solo exhibition titled I Am Hymns of The New Temples at Museo di Palazzo Grimani, co-curated with Massimo Osanna, Andrea Viliani, and Gabriel Zuchtriegel, in collaboration with the Archaeological Park of Pompeii.

The Art Newspaper commented on the presentation:

One of the most inventive and unusual offerings at this year’s Venice Biennale comes courtesy of Wael Shawky, the artist selected to represent Egypt. Shawky’s film, Drama 1882, brings to life a pivotal moment in the history of the country, namely the crushing of the nationalist Urabi revolution in 1882, which resulted in British occupation until 1956. Shawky tackles the concept of revisionist history and colonial legacy in an engaging way. Who could not be moved by this musical, filmed in a historic theatre in Alexandria, that melds revolutionary moments in history with a series of sweet, surreal melodies.

Read more at The Art Newspaper here.

Further press coverage for the exhibition includes:

The Washington Post
The Venice Biennale, world’s preeminent art event, is alive again

Financial Times
Venice Biennale 2024 is a rapturous celebration of unfamiliar global artists

The Art Newspaper
Homecoming for one of Egypt’s leading artists as Wael Shawky shows at the country’s pavilion at the Venice Biennale

The National
For artist Wael Shawky, Venice Biennale will be his Egyptian homecoming

‘I’m so proud of this film:’ Wael Shawky unveils his Venice Biennale project | Art Basel

The Six Best Exhibitions to See in Venice

The 10 Best National Pavilions at the 60th Venice Biennale

2024 Venice Biennale pavilions: your go-to list

Frieze Magazine
What to See in Venice’s Giardini and Arsenale | Frieze

The Art Newspaper, The Week in Art Podcast
Venice Biennale Special

Stir World
The real and the surreal converge in Wael Shawky's immersive narratives

Le Figaro
Biennale de Venise: nos 10 coups de coeur

Wael Shawky's Drama 1882 for the Egyptian Pavilion at the 60th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, commissioned by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture – Accademia d’Egitto, runs from 20 April – 24 November, 2024. You can read more here.

International coverage for Wael Shawky's 'Drama 1882' for the Egypt Pavilion of La Biennale di Venezia 2024
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