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Karina Al Piaro: Al Arwah project in Egypt

26 November 2015
We are delighted to be supporting British photojournalist & visual artist Karina Al Piaro in the production of the debut visual narrative of striking black & white large scale fibre based prints utilising Metro's specific silver gelatin  process, during a site & time specific timeline on the Nile in Egypt during the Arab Uprising

The narrative which was presented as a trilogy entitled 'Al Arwah' (translated literally from Arabic meaning The Spirits) in The Shelter Gallery, a newly opened dedicated space in Cairo specifically designed to support and house photographic art and the encourage creative process with the camera to a new generation of photographers emerging in this territory. The exhibition and artists talk took place earlier in November in collaboration and conversation with the custodians of one of the most celebrated historical photographic archives dating as far back as the early 1900's.

Al Arwah is a visual antidote evolving directly from key historic events witnessed and experienced immersively by the artist during the Arab Uprising.  It exists visually and symbolically as an eulogy, prayer and a mark of transcendence and is being created as part of a larger body of work in progress, specifically developed as part of a World Heritage photography in Egypt. This project will be in collaboration with Lehnert & Landrock, marking a century of creative processes with the camera on the Nile.

The significance of using Metro's silver gelatin bromide process in the contemporary era pays direct homage to the historically documented processes taking place in the Nile region by the pioneers of photography, dating back as far as the 1850's. Al Arwah has been created as the connective bridge in creative process technologies merging digital with old process.  

Karina explains, "I worked professionally mainly in Europe, as a fashion and advertising photographer learning my craft and shooting mainly on analogue for many years but it was a significant experience assisting the National Geographic in Cairo in the years that preempted the Arab Uprising that changed my direction fundamentally as a photographer, towards narratives with a cause that could transcend both historical and modern technologies.

"Returning to my roots creatively on the Nile Basin in Egypt where I originally picked up a camera and continue over 25 years later; I consider Egypt and the Nile, in this territory, to be a fundamental source and part of my personal visual heritage " she continues. "It is a territory however where such visual heritage with the camera has been under a real threat of being lost, with reference to the most recent chapter which has been extremely traumatic for the region on many levels; there is therefore now a sense of urgency to preserve what exists and nurture what has potential to emerge in the present and future. My goal is to remain present in the territory and in doing so continue to develop the talk format/artist talk presentations which gain support internationally for the revival of photography as a genre of art in this most historical and beloved birthplaces of the medium itself."
For more information about The Shelter Art
For more information about how to contribute towards the project/talk format platforms contact Karina

To support the continued development of a World Heritage Project for Photography in Egypt, contact the custodians of Lehnert & Landrock

For an update on further events taking place in Cairo relating to emerging photographers please contact
The Shelter Gallery, Cairo. Tel: +(20) 122 213 3711

Images © All rights reserved Karina Al Piaro
1. Manaa (Immunity) Al Arwah (1) Silver Gelatine Bromide, 121 cm x 183 cm, NILE, Egypt (2013)
2. Beit al Noor ( House of Light) Al Arwah (1) Silver Gelatine Bromide, 121cm x 183 cm, NILE, Egypt, (2015)
3. Release (You Cut Me Loose) Al Arwah (1) Silver Gelatine Bromide, 121 cm x 183 cm, NILE, Egypt, (2012)
4. Sowing Time, Cairo, Nile, Egypt (1922 - 1924) © Image courtesy of Lehnert & Landrock Archive

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