April 27, 2011, 7:30 PM
Lara Baladi will talk about her work, titled Hope, on view in Environment and Object: Recent African Art, and its connection to the amazing Egyptian revolution of 2011. Contrasting the visual cliché of Egypt with its pyramids rising from surrounding landscape, Hope documents the ashwa’iyat, or “informal housing,” a seemingly endless series of unfinished red brick apartment blocks surrounding Cairo. Augmenting her photographs of the ashwa’iyat is the “Donkey Symphony,” commissioned by Baladi, which she describes as “a hymn to hope in the midst of misery.”
“Egypt is growing so fast today that some experts predict its original agricultural land is well on the way to disappearing. In Cairo, forty percent of the city is now composed of ashwa’iyat (literally “haphazard things”)…These illegally built slums expand relentlessly in and around Cairo like mushrooms after the rain, suffocating the fertile soil beneath them.” – Lara Baladi
Baladi’s talk will be followed by a Q & A session moderated by Lisa Aronson, Associate Professor of Art History, and John Weber, Dayton Director of the Tang, the co-organizers of the *Environment and Object *exhibition.