In photographs, installations, videos and performances, Wael Shawky mines traditions of entertainment and performance through multilayered historical reconstructions that force viewers to navigate the territory of truth, myth, stereotype and cliché.

Shawky has been the subject of over 25 solo exhibitions at institutions such as FOCUS: Wael Shawky, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, Texas (2021); The Song of Roland: The Arabic Version, Louvre Abu Dhabi, (2020); Wael Shawky: Al Araba Al Madfuna, The Polygon Gallery, Vancouver, Canada (2019); ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Aarhus, Denmark (2018); Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Turin, Italy (2016); MoMA PS1, New York (2015); Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (2015); Sharjah Art Foundation (2014) and Serpentine Gallery, London (2013). Recent screenings, performances and group exhibitions of Shawky’s work have taken place at Sharjah Biennial 14 (2019); Gangwon International Biennale, Korea (2018); Sharjah Art Foundation (2016, 2018); Theater der Welt 2017, Kampnagel, Hamburg (2017); Musée du Louvre, Paris (2015); Gwangju Biennial (2012, 2015); Istanbul Biennial (2005, 2011, 2015); Sharjah Biennial 11 (2013); dOCUMENTA 13, Kassel (2012) and Marrakesh Biennial, Morocco (2012), among others. Shawky’s work can be found in the collections of the Tate Modern, London; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Darat Al Funun, Amman and Sharjah Art Foundation, among others.

He has received numerous awards, including the inaugural Mario Merz Prize, Fondazione Merz, Turin, Italy (2015); Sharjah Biennial Prize (2013); Abraaj Group Art Prize, Dubai (2012); Schering Stiftung Art Award, Ernst Schering Foundation and KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2011) and Grand Prize, Alexandria Biennial (2009).

Shawky was the Keith L. and Katherine S. Sachs Visiting Professor in the Department of Fine Arts, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, US (2016–2017) and founder of MASS Alexandria, a studio space and educational programme for young artists (2010).

In 1994 he received a BFA from Alexandria University and earned his MFA in 2001 from University of Pennsylvania.

Born in 1971 in Alexandria, Shawky now lives and works between Alexandria and Philadelphia

SAF Participation:
Genealogies in the Middle East and Latin America (2021)
Sharjah Biennials 14 and 11
March Meeting 2018
Wael Shawky: Horsemen Adore Perfumes and other stories (2014)