Egyptian Artist Moataz Nasr Shows A Gripping Female-Focused Film in Dubai

Meem Gallery, Moataz Nasr, Egyptian Artists, Dubai Exhibition
Courtesy
Shown for the first time in Dubai at Meem Gallery in collaboration with Galleria Continua, Nasr’s debut film explores geopolitical and social development in Africa through a feminist lens

The Mountain by Moataz Nasr was first shown at the 2017 Venice Biennale's Egyptian pavilion as a multi-sensory experience that transported the audience to Egypt and its dusty, lively streets filled with storied buildings and ancient ruins. Marking Egyptian artist Moataz Nasr’s foray into filmmaking, the 12-minute film, which is displayed over five screens, tells the story of Zein, a young girl who leaves her isolated village in mountainous Upper Egypt to continue her studies. On her return, Zein, now an educated young woman, challenges the deep-set traditions of her village by flouting the authority of the disapproving local elders.

The beautifully symbolic film will be showing at Meem Gallery in Dubai until 16 May 2019.

Moataz Nasr, 'The Mountain', 2017, video installation, 12 minutes. Courtesy of the artist and GALLERIA CONTINUA, San Gimignano / Beijing / Les Moulins / Habana

Nasr, who is known for his large-scale material-focused installations, uses film here as his medium of choice. “In this case, I used cinema as a material,” says the artist. “I’m a very curious person, I’ve always enjoyed experimenting with new things as far as they are going to be useful for whatever concept that I’m working on, or indeed, whatever story I am trying to tell. As an Egyptian, as an Arab, cinema is so important in our recent cultural history. In this film I used themes and images that people are familiar with, themes that we grew up with, images that are really deep set within our psyches. I wanted to make something different, something special.”

Moataz Nasr, 'The Mountain', 2017, video installation, 12 minutes. Courtesy of the artist and GALLERIA CONTINUA, San Gimignano / Beijing / Les Moulins / Habana

The film is in line with the continuous scope of Nasr’s oeuvre, which explores traditions and new globalism, questioning geopolitical and social development in the Middle East and Africa. The film uses the mountain as an extended metaphor to address the universal conflict between what might be seen as newly-enlightened youth and the conservative establishment.

Video still, Moataz Nasr, 'The Mountain', 2017, video installation, 12 minutes. Courtesy of the artist and GALLERIA CONTINUA, San Gimignano / Beijing / Les Moulins / Habana

The film is dedicated to Nasr’s daughters, clearly weaving a feminist message throughout the film. “I have been working on this project for over 10 years and it has evolved significantly. When I first wrote the story, I made myself the protagonist — the arrogance of a young man I suppose. With time and experience, the story changed," says Nasr. "It is said that every time you change something, you add something. My daughters have had a great influence over me, and I feel their power and strength every day. It is them and the other strong women that I see every day, that led me to change the main character into a woman. I found it more effective — more of a statement. Woman are so brave and must work so much harder to challenge the status quo in our society, in our world.”

Video still, Moataz Nasr, 'The Mountain', 2017, video installation, 12 minutes. Courtesy of the artist and GALLERIA CONTINUA, San Gimignano / Beijing / Les Moulins / Habana

While the film undoubtedly refers to the fear of inaction, it also goes a step further. The film looks at the subject of a woman’s role in society, a topic that Nasr has addressed before, and importantly, the role of his own mother. “In one particular work, after the death of my mother, I assumed her identity and confronted my father with all of the questions that I felt she couldn’t — or wouldn’t — have asked him herself,” says Nasr. “She was a traditional woman, a housewife and although she had passed away, I felt that through my work I was able to give her a louder, bolder voice and have the conversations I know she would have loved to have had with my father, herself.”

Video still, Moataz Nasr, 'The Mountain', 2017, video installation, 12 minutes. Courtesy of the artist and GALLERIA CONTINUA, San Gimignano / Beijing / Les Moulins / Habana

The Mountain by Moataz Nasr can be viewed at Meem Gallery, Dubai, until 16 May 2019. meemartgallery.com

BY

Meem Gallery, Moataz Nasr, Egyptian Artists, Dubai Exhibition
Courtesy