They Usually Lie Around a Grotto
Documentation – or even a contemplative pursuit – is met with a degree of antagonism where public space is almost inaccessible in Cairo. The clamor of the streets is forceful, sites of contestation have become perpetual and monumental, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to be present as a recorder of things. Dunne’s work strikes as a flipside to the idea of the “public;” an involuntary introspectiveness that stemmed, as she once mentioned, out of being more comfortable in the protective solitude of this space – a seemingly secret garden in the heart of a public zoo.An urge strikes to find any relevance in the stillness of the images to one’s brash surroundings; a contrast that forced a dialogue between the two in a hazy state. Restrictions turn into a maddening force, one that occasionally calls for an introvert: the images suggest a complete disconnect, a sense of meditative disengagement that usually comes with myth. There are hand-painted seeds, ones that are deliberately dressed up for extrication. They now exist in blackness with fur swelling out of their odd textures. And there stands a fabled grotto that’s hidden from the public. The garden from which they come is a static image.
The opening will also feature the launch of a self- published photobook titled 'Seeds of the Zoo' which includes a selection of images, some of which are included in the exhibition, texts by Sara El Adl, Canadian writer Elle Kurancid and Egyptian photojournalist Hamada Elrasam. Kindly supported by Mophradat.
About the artist:
Bryony Dunne is an Irish-artist based in Cairo. Her first short film brought her to Egypt in 2012 to photograph a network of desert gardens in the Sinai Peninsula. The Orchard Keepers (2014) would go on to be awarded best short at the Iranian International Green Film Festival. In her first feature film, Pembe! (2017), she traces the story of the world’s last male Northern White Rhinoceros. Dunne has shown her work at places such as; The Irish Film Institute, London’s Mosaic Rooms, Leighton House Museum and Goldsmiths University. In 2016 she was an invited artist-in-residence at Hangar Art and Research Centre in Lisbon. She teaches photography at the German University in Cairo.
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