10 January – 3 March 2019
Curated by Deniz Kırkalı
My Dear Friends presents photography and video installations on Cairo’s Giza Zoo by Irish artist Bryony Dunne and Egyptian photojournalist Roger Anis. The Giza Zoo, a site of complex dynamics, is a living consequence and documentation of a certain past. Dunne investigates the corridors and pathways by looking at how the zoo has come to exist with fauna and flora transported to the former British colony through the Suez Canal while Anis focuses on the intimacy and the condition of shared captivity between the animals at the zoo and their keepers. Together, the work of Dunne and Anis explore the historical and cultural complexities of the 125-year-old zoological garden.
As 2019 marks the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Suez Canal, it is, for many reasons, timely to reflect on how the canal enabled the swift advancement with flora, fauna and humans being uprooted and forcibly transferred across multiple continents. Established under British occupation in 1891, the Giza Zoo houses a range of trees native to India, Brazil, Burma, Australia, Madagascar, and the Malay Peninsula, all of which were imported to Egypt along with a wide variety of animals. The exhibition asks how these man-induced circulations, corridors and relocations can activate dialogue around the colonial past and within the contemporary social, cultural and political realms in Egypt and the wider region.
The exhibition is accompanied by a publication that includes texts by Deniz Kırkalı, Georgios Papadopoulos and Sara Elkamel as well as Elle Kurancid’s interview with Roger Anis.
Bryony Dunne is an Irish visual artist and filmmaker based inAthens. Building on her background in documentary photography and visual anthropology, she explores the relations between humanity and nature, the legacies of colonialism, and the fantasies of human control. She has exhibited in venues such as the Mosaic Rooms (London), Gypsum Gallery (Cairo), Centre Pompidou (Paris), HKW (Berlin) and the BAHAR project of Sharjah Biennial 13 (Istanbul). She is currently working on a documentary film entitled Above The Law set between Egypt, Ireland and Greece.
Roger Anis holds a bachelor of Fine Arts in Mural Painting from Minya University in Egypt and a Diploma in Photojournalism from the Danish School of Media and Journalism in Denmark. He has worked as a photojournalist since 2010. His work appeared in outlets such as the Associated Press, TIME, Le Monde, The Guardian, and The New York Times, as well as in museums and galleries in Egypt and internationally. His work focuses on social issues and is powered by his belief in photography as a method of social change.
Deniz Kırkalı is a curator based in Istanbul. She received her bachelor’s degree in Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University. She was the assistant curator of BAHAR, the Istanbul offsite project of Sharjah Biennial 13. She co-founded a curatorial and research collective called TopSoil in London. She holds an MA in Contemporary Art Theory from Goldsmiths College in London.
This exhibition is kindly supported by The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture and Culture Ireland.