b. Cairo, Egypt 1985
Email : [email protected]
Mai Al Shazly is an Egyptian visual artist working with photography, video, and installation. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, most recently exhibiting her collective work at Biennale Africaine de la photographie at BAMAKO, receiving both a video art and experimental film production award through Goethe Institute Kairo in collaboration with Contemporary Image Collective, as well as a production funding grant through the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia Cairo(2016). Mai focuses on the identity and its relationship to surrounding environmental (e.g., city’s size, urban density, location) and political issues(e.g., regimes stability and authority). She has exhibited her work at Yorkshire Sculpture Park in United Kingdom (2017), Institute Francais Egypte in Cairo (2017), Second Street Gallery and Sewanee University in United States(2015-2016), the Goethe Institute Kairo (2014), and Al-Madina Theater in Beirut(2014. Currently she lives and work in Cairo.
Download Mai's CV here.
In her video installation UNDERCURRENTS. It shows the relation between two different contexts. The first is about resistance which is the result of human’s action as B.F. Skinner said “Resistance is a human reaction to another human action “and the second is about dependency and non-resistance. The videos show the submerged underwater world and a young female attacking a punch bag. Showing the resistance, discrepancy and the tension of juxtaposition.
More recently, she has continued investigating the relationship between identity and affect and their relationship to the surrounding circumstances. As part of collective project titled CAIRO BATS, she has assembled a series of photographs taken on rooftops in the city in order to re-examine the role of women across the city and redefine how we navigate and defy the limitation of the everyday life. The images capture the group act, as if this urban stage was an improvisational theatre. The performative intervention evolved in response to architectural features in chosen place and objects we find: buckets, rugs, satellite dishes and furniture. The camera and the audience are witnesses to the playful interaction among individual group members.
The theme of exploring the absence and presence in relationship to given circumstances, and the photographs explore not only space but at night, different light sources join the cast and underline the interplay between visible and invisible. The roof is the margin of domestic order, finding its place between the private and public.
Moving along the same current, her project THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GIANT SLAB address urban politics and how they affect human behavior and psychology. Exploring the concept of marginality and separation as effects of political actions. Trough an imaginary text imagining how the physical structure separates communities socially.
More recently, she had an art residency in Switzerland and the work she came up with during her stay titled THE THIRD TRACE. Engage with the physical and cultural landscape in attempt to determine contextual definitions related to the identity of a given place. And she had continuing investigating the relationship between identity and affect.
The work seeks to redefine the geographical and cultural identity through the forsaken places in the south region of Switzerland. Mountain ranges as a physical structure that separate communities physically and socially a part.
By creating a visual dialogue between the body and these environments. Through her experimental performance to interact with the material and visual culture.