hazem taha hussein
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Occidentalism

 

   
 
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"Where are you my angel, we miss you today accompanying us in the East."

An idea that was brought to life through my belief that Western influence in our country has become a reality. In the future, a part of Arab intelligence will gladly be described as greatly Western. The choice of the Baroque angel is to give meaning to figure of a pudgy baby found traditionally in Italian Renaissance art alongside use of the accordion; used as a key religious symbol encompassing Islam, Christianity and Judaism. The Egyptian Baroque Angel takes the role of a messenger of religious communications, the protector of the human spirit. It is the intermediary between the physical and the spiritual.

Whilst the Egyptian Baroque Angel holds its own unique position, the angel in the East remains the same as that of the West, a flying cherub in the sky above us. He is the seeker of all that he lays eyes upon, whether objects or incidents, good or evil. He is the spirit, knowledgeable about the earth's ingredients.

The meaning of the angel remains with us, in the way we discuss our daily lives in the form of stories, traditional influences and songs in all parts of Egypt, re-making the Baroque angel. You can see an angel flying above us playing the accordion, another sitting on the ground while holding the same musical instrument. In both cases we feel his presence, his thoughts that surround us but always from a distance; he is not involved in our events and prefers leaving us to resolve our disagreements by ourselves.

The ideal key to communication is to first begin by creating a character able to build barriers as does the Egyptian Baroque angel, which still perplexes me unlike the Western angel that I know and admittedly love. Similarly to the new McDonalds slogan, he is only attracted to incidents that grab his attention and refuses to communicate with us in a way that is different from his own method of communication, and this angel lives amongst us as an Egyptian, reminding us of his First World, Western, developed and civilized world roots, all the while with the ability of communication and introduction of the 'Other'.

What's clear to me today is that it is possible to find a fusion combining both the traditional Western and Eastern angels, as the role of the ancient Western angel -to us at least-only encompasses the introduction of assistance and keeping watch. This new 'fusion' angel allows us to be reborn, take the lead and explain what the West has written about us in the past, rewrite wrongly recorded history, thus righting wrongs, a cause the Egyptian Baroque Angel champions.

Has the time come for us to have a chance to write our events/histories by ourselves, and correct what we have studied and were brought up to believe at school and university? Tomorrow, will the West admit that we are capable of creating a character-the Egyptian Baroque angel-a fusion that includes both cultures and beliefs in the language of communication?

First Work: The Group of 20 Angels
The flying angel appears to be a passive watcher taking the role of a viewer to events, the witness of our Arab society flying past human beings and crossing their surroundings but without being involved in their conversations. Will he record the past for reasons we do not yet know, or is it just his curiosity that drives him? He is the worldly onlooker, different from traditional behaviors, who does not allow anything to pass by unnoticed. The angel flies without us sensing his presence, observing the privatization of Egypt and viewing our national flag of the 1960s (picture no.1).

In the streets of Cairo the angel watches on as vendors sell women's lingerie as if they're selling meat from a butcher's shop.
He goes out once again to see the Muslims prepare for pilgrimage to Mecca.
The angel observes the buildings and how the porters sit at the entrance protecting the residences.
He is a strange angel; he knows everything but chooses to remain silent and does not interfere to solve many of our problems. Is it because he wants us to remain independent, even though he interfered in history that still affects us until this date? I don't know.

 

Sale in Egypt, 70 x 90 cm, digital print, 2007.

 

Tahgien-Hybridité, 70 x 90 cm, digital print, 2007.

 

El-Sheikh and us, 70 x 90 cm, digital print, 2007.

 

Groppi, 70 x 90 cm, digital print, 2007.

 

Ouf for textile, 70 x 90 cm, digital print, 2007.

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2010 Hazem Taha Hussien. All rights reserved.