The Gulf Project Camp
Egyptian artist Wael Shawky speaks about The Gulf Project Camp, currently on view at Lisson Gallery New York. The theatrical presentation explores the history of the Gulf Region and its development from the mid 17th Century to today. Shawky discusses the challenges faced when searching for historical source materials, his referencing of ancient poems, and his use of maps that were often rendered by foreigners who might have never even visited the region.
Much of the imagery in the exhibition is Shawky's interpretation of these ancient poems, and imagined maps, allowing for the introduction of surreal landscapes which blend into mythical creatures. The Gulf Project Camp references these historical sources, and highlights the continuing impact foreign powers have on the region. This alternate history of landscapes, maps, structures and creatures have been developed by Shawky as ink and oil drawings, and then transformed into intricate wooden carvings, enormous Murano glass works and bronze sculptures. As is often the case with his practice, Shawky exhibits these works within a completely immersive installation, as though the gallery were the background of his drawings and the figures had stepped forth in all of their texture and brilliance.