Two major exhibitions of work by Wael Shawky open in Turin, Italy this November. The entirety of the artist's critically acclaimed film trilogies – Cabaret Crusades (2010–2015) and Al Araba Al Madfuna (2012– 2016) – will go on show respectively at Castello di Rivoli and Fondazione Merz until 5 February 2017.
Castello di Rivoli will present the first retrospective of the artist's work in Italy, showcasing a number of seminal works alongside all three Cabaret Crusades films, which tells the story of the Crusades from an Arab perspective
At Fondazione Merz, an exhibition of newly commissioned work by Shawky will be presented, alongside the artist’s film trilogy Al Araba Al Madfuna III (2016), shown together here for the first time. Visitors will be led through a series of immersive environments that physically compile the films' contents, including detailed architectural set designs and sculptures. The installations, which have been created specifically for the exhibition, create a unique atmosphere drawn from the historical, literary and cinematographic references from which the artist has built his stories. The films draw inspiration from Shawky's visit to the village of Al Araba Al Madfuna in Egypt, where the artist first witnessed the community's activities of digging underground for ancient treasures. Produced in a modern theatrical and cinematographic style, the film features children dressed in turbans, gallabiyas, and moustaches performing the roles of adults while reciting parables from Egyptian writer Mohamed Mustagab’s collection of stories Dairout al Sharif (1983).
Drawings produced during the creation of these films will be on display at Lisson Gallery Milan from 9 November until 7 January 2017.