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Exhibition

Moataz Nasr: Delicate Balance

March 6, 2021 – July 11, 2021
North Carolina Museum of Art, East building, Galleries 3 and 4

Acclaimed pan-Arab artist and activist Moataz Nasr (born 1961, Alexandria, Egypt; lives and works in Cairo) creates works of art that offer a contemporary look at Egyptian society and explores often-exoticized and romanticized perceptions of the country. Via paintings, sculptures, videos, and installations, Nasr addresses current sociopolitical norms, and problems, in Northern Africa.

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In this installation two videos explore alternating concepts from Nasr’s home country. The Mountain(2017) is a cinematic narrative about a young woman’s clash between her modern life and her village’s conventional expectations. This work was presented by Egypt in its national pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale (one among ninety national pavilions in this world-famous biennial exhibition). Merge and Emerge (2011) is a meditative, hypnotic presentation by three Sufi dancers, inviting us to experience ecstatic prayerfulness. In each video Nasr highlights traditions and values often associated with Egypt and other Middle Eastern/North African nations—especially female submissiveness and mystical beliefs. Nasr invites contemplation of the delicate balance between past and present, tradition and innovation. 

Organized by the North Carolina Museum of Art. Generously supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This exhibition is made possible, in part, by the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources; the North Carolina Museum of Art Foundation, Inc.; and the William R. Kenan Jr. Endowment for Educational Exhibitions. Research for this exhibition was made possible by Ann and Jim Goodnight/The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fund for Curatorial and Conservation Research and Travel. 

Moataz Nasr, Still from the video The Mountain, 2017, video: 12 min., Courtesy the artist and Galleria Continua

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