Cairo. Open City
New Testimonies from an Ongoing Revolution

An exhibition by Museum for Photography Braunschweig in collaboration with Braunschweig University of Art

Cairo. Open City examines the roles that images are playing in the ongoing Egyptian revolution, from the outbreak of the Arab Spring through the present. The exhibition will include a variety of approaches to the time-based media of photography and video, from the works of photo journalists, to recordings by activists and „citizen journalists“, to documents collected by different artists.

In many ways the medium of photography has impressed upon us a quality of testimony. In the digital age and in the specific context of the Egyptian revolution new challenges and opportunities for the testimonial aspect of images are emerging: the omnipresent eye of the digital device, new distribution possibilities and alternative reporting. The exhibition will not only provide a glimpse into the freedom movements of the Arab world, it will also write a new chapter in the history of images.

If „testimony“ is a central form of expression of the social transformation taking place in Egypt, then it was not primarily social networks, but the pent up desperation and courage of the people on the streets that brought about this transformation. Special attention will be paid to the genesis and intentions behind the images: Who and what is speaking from these pictures?

Cairo. Open City is an experimental exhibition in the sense that it does not represent a finished process, but rather utilizes the openness of the current political developments as a formal principle. The comprehensive exhibition has been divided into individual chapters and stations, each of which will be curated by prominent actors in the Cairo art scene, including the artists Lara Baladi and Heba Farid, the photographers Thomas Hartwell and Tarek Hefny, the activists, journalists and curators Jasmina Metwaly, Philip Rizk and Alexandra Stock, the journalist Rowan El Shimi, the bloggers Ahmad Gharbeia and Alex Nunns.

The different chapters will generate a dialogue between the images – a juxtaposition and co-existence of the greatest possible diversity of image forms and approaches. Cover images from newspapers will stand alongside photo galleries from blogs, iconic pictures alongside unknown images of people on the streets, images of martyrs alongside long-term documentary projects. As in 2011 many artists were still waiting to react to the new situation and saw their role more as street activists, a number of works are now being created that also elicit this idea of testimony, albeit with formal media that is different from the journalistic images of the events as they were happening.

On display will be photographs, videos, drawings and texts by:
Myriam Abdelaziz, Ahmed Abdel Latif, Osama Abdel Moneim, Peter van Agtmael, Alternative News Agency, Roger Anis, Kim Badawi, Mostafa Bahgat, Lara Baladi, Brigitte Bauer, Taha Belal, Eva Bertram, Sarah Carr, Denis Dailleux, Osama Dawod, Kaya Behkalam, Johanna Domke & Marouan Omara, Ahmed Easiony, Dörte Eißfeldt, Heba El Kholi, Hala Elkoussy, Mosa’ab Elshamy, Mohamed El Maymony, Mohamed El Sheshtawy, Rowan El Shimi, Mohamed Ezz, Fadi Ezzat, Heba Farid, Nermine Hammam, Thomas Hartwell, Aly Hazaa, Tarek Hefny, Eman Helal, Gigi Ibrahim, Magdi Ibrahim, Islam Kamal, Ahmed Kamel, Mahmoud Khaled, Heba Khalifa, Nadine Khan & Mariam Mekiwi, Bettina Lockemann, Alex Majoli, Jasmina Metwaly, Chris Michalski & Sebastian Stumpf, George Mohsen, Samuel Mohsen, Jehan Nasr, Mohammad Nouhan, Nasser Nouri, Alex Nunns, Maggie Osama, Susanne Pomrehn, Ivor Prickett, Jonathan Rashad, Philip Rizk, Ibrahim Saad, Randa Shaath, Ravy Shaker, Alexandra Stock, Lobna Tarek, Lilian Wagdy, Sally Zohny

Furthermore, works will be shown that were initiated as part of an encounter between young Egyptian, German and French artists. In February 2012 ten students from the Braunschweig University of Art (HBK), along with Professor Dörte Eißfeldt and Bettina Lockeman, travelled to Cairo and met there with fellow students from Egypt. A number of works came out of the digital exchange with them and with French students from the École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Nîmes, and these works form the final part of the exhibition.

In Autumn 2012 an extensive catalogue in Arabic, English and German will be published by Spector Books, Leipzig, with essays by young Cairo-based authors.
Pre-orders: projekte[at]

funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation

Kulturstiftung des Bundes


the exhibition is being organized in collaboration with

Goethe InstitutTownhouseHochschule für Bildende Künste BraunschweigEuropean Month of Photography


BS Energy


funded by

sbkStadt Braunschweig KulturinstitutNiedersächsiches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur



kindly supported by