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Snapshot: ‘The Break’ (2011) by Nermine Hammam

Published31 Aug 2012

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‘The Break’ (2011) by Nermine Hammam

The Cairo-based artist’s latest work includes pastiches of Egypt’s recent civil unrest

Cairo-based artist Nermine Hammam’s latest work includes pastiches of Egypt’s recent civil unrest, created by combining hand-painted subjects with digitally manipulated photographs. Her monograph Upekkha (2011) – which includes “The Break”, featuring two Egyptian soldiers in Tahrir Square reset against a fantasy landscape – is on show in Cairo: Year One at the Mosaic Rooms, London. Other works on display include Unfolding (2012), a series that blends photographs of police brutality after Egypt’s 2011 revolution with landscapes in classical Japanese style.

Nermine Hammam, a artista egípcia que foi capa do Jornal PRÓXIMO FUTURO de Maio passado, em destaque no "Life & Arts" do Financial Times de 18-19 de Agosto 2012!

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Published22 May 2012

Tags nermine hammam fotografia photomed egipto

Nermine Hammam is a rising figure on the Egyptian art scene. She makes figurative works, pulling elements from painting and photography. She was born in Cairo in 1967 and worked with the famous director Youssef Chahine. She was also the production assistant for the film “Malcom X”. For Photomed, Nermine Hammam has selected a set of inconic and symbolic pictures. In the series “Ma’at”, she presents herself in the guise of characters such as Frida Kahlo and Marlène Dietrich, the embodiments of Amazon warriors who have come to restore harmony and peace. In the series “Alchemy”, she embeds her face in famous paintings and photographs, such as Bonaparte by David, or in the image of Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan. In her series “Uppekha”, she presents young soldiers from the Arab Spring in Egypt standing in front of the idyllic backgrounds of old postcards. This work documents aspects of the war that are often ignored: not just the screams of pain, but as well the fear of teenagers riddled with anxiety. As modern icons, these images shock us and invite us to thinking about the ideology conveyed by the images posing as reality found in advertissements. Nermine Hammam is a militant artist. With her art, she offers a bittersweet reflection on the social and political reality of our time.


Egyptian photography artist, Nermine Hammam, examines the nature and role of the iconic image at the Photomed 2nd edition of the Mediterranean Photography Festival, that runs from May 24 ‐ June 17 2012, at Sanary‐sur‐Mer, Bandol, Ile de Bendor, Toulon, France. As part of this annual group show, Hammam will be exhibiting over 40 images, in the Salle Barthélémy de Don, drawn from four separate series of work: Alchemy (2010), Ma’at (2011), Uppekha (2011) and her latest series, Unfolding (2012). Across these works, Hammam examines the constructed nature of reality and, by extension, that of the iconic image which is fabricated in our collective conscious, achieving a status of near universal recognition and appeal. Each in their own way, her works probe that dual existence of the iconic image as both sign and symbol capable of transcending its initial time‐specific, two‐dimensional state to attain an eternal, quasi‐religious significance becoming an object of worship and of ritual. Hammam’s work also explores the irony of the iconic image that, in its very universality, outlasts both its subject and producer becoming entirely removed from the original events that triggered its creation. In Alchemy (2010) Hammam tackles the iconic image head on. She brings together some of the most iconic images of our time, from Marlyn Monroe to Paul Newman, grafting her own face seamlessly onto the faces of the protagonists depicted. We experience, at once, the pull of recognition and the ‘shock of the strange’ as we examine these famous works only to find the artist looking back at us from every image. Hammam believes that we perceive reality through a series of signs and signifiers drawn from the “underbelly of our collective subconscious.” Alchemy plays with this notion of the constructed nature of perception and points to the role of memory in articulating our experiences of day‐to‐day reality. The work also raises important questions about the artificial nature of religious icons and the belief systems that exist around them. It explores the fabricated nature of identity itself and how we manipulate those aspects of ourselves that we present to others.


Published14 Mar 2012

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Photo-artist Nermine Hammam will show her series Anachrony (2010) at the Safarkhan Gallery in Cairo on 27th March 2012, in her first solo exhibition in Egypt in three years. Photographed in the desert around Fayoum, Anachrony is a series of mixed media images that depict anonymous human forms cocooned inside long, undulating drapes of fabric in a surrealist-inspired landscape of desert and mountains. A highly personal work, Anachrony was created in reaction to three months spent by Hammam photographing patients in Egypt’s state-run Abbasiya mental asylum.

The work emerged as an effort to purge the “unexpectedly strong personal reaction elicited by my experience of the asylum. It is an anguished search for solace and a cry for help. With this work, I beg forgiveness for the unspeakable horrors that I witnessed but was unable to prevent.” Anachrony represents a ‘working through’ of powerlessness and of shame: like the stills of a film the images together form a distinct narrative of time, a movement from the dark terrors of nightmare towards the quiet possibility of hope. “It is the landscape of my psychological state and of my soul at a particular moment in my time.

Nermine HammamAnachrony

SafarKhan Gallery, Cairo, de 27 Março até 14 Abril 2012.