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Ahmad Basiony in Tahrir Square in Cairo before he was killed
Ahmad Basiony in Tahrir Square in Cairo before he was killed. Photo by Magdi Mostafa, courtesy Nafas art magazine

Ahmad Basiony

EGYPT TAKES PROTEST TO VENICE
Apr. 7, 2011

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Cairo-based artist and electronic musician Ahmed Basiony, 32, was killed by sniper fire in Tahrir Square on Jan. 28, 2011, while participating in the demonstrations that launched the Egyptian popular uprising on Jan. 25. He leaves behind a wife and two children.

Now, the Venice Biennale has announced that Basiony has been selected to represent Egypt in its pavilion in the Giardini for the 2011 biennale. The exhibition is curated by Aida Eltorie, former editor of Contemporary Practices Journal and founder of FindingProjects.org; the commissioner is the Cairo-based artist and teacher Shady El Noshokaty.

The selection is all the more interesting considering that the status of democratic reforms in Egypt remains uncertain. 

According to Hyperallergic.com, the exhibition is featuring Basiony's 30 Days of Running in the Space, a 2010 performance that charted his vital signs as he ran for one hour every day and projected them graphically on a screen. The work was originally performed in 2010 in the garden of the Cairo Opera House.

Also on view in the Egyptian pavilion: Basiony's documentation of the Tahrir Square protests.

A multimedia pioneer responsible for introducing the first academic program in sound art experimentation to Egypt, Basiony was the subject of an elegiac essay by El Noshokaty in Nafas art magazine in March.

According to El Noshokaty, in Basiony's final entries on his Facebook page, Basiony told of being beaten by the riot police, and wrote, "If they want war, we want peace. I am just trying to regain some of my nation's dignity." And then, the next day, said, “It is necessary to be fully equipped while participating in the revolution. . . . Bring a camera with you and don't be afraid or weak."


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