Amal Kenawy’s work explores political, social and feminist issues, primarily in Egypt, and reflects on topics of death and regeneration through animation, painting, drawing, sketches and journals as well as video works, installations, performance documentation and archival material.
Working in a wide range of mediums, Amal Kenawy explored identity and illusion against a background of memory. She sensed and exposed a metaphorical world hiding beneath the physical, attempting to make the unseen visible. Focusing on political, social and feminist issues, primarily in Egypt, her work often reflects on topics of death and regeneration.
Solo exhibitions of Kenawy’s work include Amal Kenawy, The Khalid Shoman Foundation, Darat al Funun, Amman (2007); Space, Karim Francis Contemporary Art Gallery, Cairo (2006); Booby Trapped Heaven, Mashrabia Gallery, Cairo (2006); The Purple Artificial Forest, Falaki Gallery, American University of Cairo (2005); The Journey, Townhouse Gallery for Contemporary Art, Cairo (2004) and Transformation, Pro-Helvetia Swiss Art Council, Araau, Switzerland (2004).
Her work has also been shown in group exhibitions such as In Rebellion. Female Narratives In The Arab World, Institut Valencià d’Art Modern (IVAM), Valencia (2017); Cross-border: Video works by contemporary artists from the Southern Mediterranean, Pataka Art + Museum, Porirua, New Zealand (2016); Lucy’s Iris. Contemporary African Women Artists, Rochechouart Museum of Contemporary Art, France (2016); Eri Mieltä: Nykytaiteen Toisinajattelijoita, Kiasma, Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki (2015); The Divine Comedy, Museum für Moderne Kunst (MMK), Frankfurt (2014); Zero Tolerance, MoMA PS1, New York (2014); Agoraphobia, Tanas, Berlin (2013); Cross-border: Contemporary Female Artists from the Arabian Mediterranean Region, Center for Art & Media, Karlsruhe, Germany (2013); Told/Untold/Retold, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha (2010); 12th International Cairo Biennale, Giza (2010); Sharjah Biennial 8 (2007); 2nd Moscow Biennale (2007); Untitled, Antwerp Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgium (2007); 1st Biennale of the Canaries: Architecture, Art, and Landscape, The Canary Islands (2006); Some Stories, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2005); Home Works 3: Forum on Cultural Practices, Beirut (2005) and 23rd Alexandria Biennale, Egypt (2005).
Kenawy was awarded the Sharjah Biennial Prize (2007); Best Animated Film Prize, 12th Cairo International Film Festival (2006); Global Crossings Prize, Los Angeles (2005); State National Prize for Art, Science and Literature, Egypt (2004); UNESCO Grand Prize, International Cairo Biennale (1998) and 1st prize in sculpture, 7th Salon of Youth, Cairo (1996). She also received a grant from the Pro-Helvetia Swiss Arts Council for an artist residency in Araau, Switzerland (2004).
Kenawy studied film and fashion design at the Academy of Fine Arts, Cinema Institute, Cairo (1997–1999) and earned a bachelor’s degree in painting from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Helwan University, Egypt (1999).
Kenawy was born in 1974 in Cairo, where she continued to live and work until her passing in 2012.
Sharjah Biennial 8
Amal Kenawy: Frozen Memory (2018)