Mia Jankowicz is a writer and independent curator in Cairo and London.

Nb the projects section badly needs updating and is not so representative until I get more info up there.

Interview with Lina Attalah of Mada Masr

[25th January 2011] is not one story. There is no one way of telling it. It’s filled with complexity and confusions that are produced by the way our emotions permeate the unfolding of events. And as we operate, we need to acknowledge that it continues to unsettle us; that what we took for granted, such as the prowess of the state, is now eternally shaken.

First of a three-part interview with Lina Attalah, Managing Editor of the independent journalism site Mada Masr, conducted June-October 2013.

Read more over at ArtTerritories.

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Aya and Ragab, still from “MICROPHONE” © Film Clinic – Egypt – 2010. Photograph by Kal Naga.

A review I drafted when Microphone came out in 2010 finally found a home on Mada Masr’s ‘Egypt’s Cinematic Gems’ series.

The film has long been followed by debate regarding whether it replicates Alexandria’s creative scene convincingly. But “Microphone,” as much as anything else, is also about the conditions of making “Microphone.”


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On Wael Shawky’s ‘Al Araba Al Madfuna’


Still from ‘Al Araba Al Madfuna’ by Wael Shawky, film, 2012

This is a review for Mada Masr of the event at Beirut where Wael Shawky presented his new film Al Araba Al Madfuna and a beautiful monograph on his work in general.

['Al Araba Al Madfuna'] opens with moody shots of the rural Nile, reminiscent of nostalgic sepia postcards, before cutting to a firelit chamber. A number of small boys, clad in galabiyas and moustaches, file solemnly into the room, and begin telling a story that is dubbed over in grown men’s voices. Each one mimes, in classical Arabic, a part in the story “The J-B-Rs” by the late Egyptian author Mohamed Mustagab. Read more over at Mada Masr. 

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A Sisimania Article

Written for Policymic, a progressive news site for millennials, this is an attempt to make sense of Egypt’s current love for Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

A shop in Cairo's Khan El-Khalili, the neighbourhood where El-Sisi grew up.

A shop in Cairo’s Khan El-Khalili, the neighbourhood where El-Sisi grew up.

The Real Reason Why Egypt Is Obsessed With Putting Its Military Leader On Everything

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Review of ‘Notes on the Magic of the State’

In December 2013 Lisson Gallery and Beirut co-published a book following their collaborative two-part exhibition The Magic of the State. This is a very short review for Flash Art. The book is bilingual, so when the book is launched in Egypt I’ll post an Arabic translation of the review too.

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English cover of the book.

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The Magic of the State (#2)

A second review of The Magic of the State at Lisson Gallery and Beirut, this time for Masquerade magazine and published last year. This review discusses different works as well as focusing slightly more on the institutional collaboration. Unfortunately the magazine did not run their edit past me so here I present the unedited version. 

In London’s Marylebone and Cairo’s Agouza, two very different art spaces staged a dual exhibition. The exhibition The Magic of the State was the result of conversation started up between Silvia Sgualdini of the Lisson Gallery, and the co-directors of the new art space Beirut, Jens Maier-Rothe and Sarah Rifky. The two exhibitions, which overlapped each other in March and April, involved the same grouping of six contributors presenting mostly different, but related works in each venue.


Documentation of Liz Magic Laser’s The Digital Face (2012-ongoing) performance. Image courtesy of Lisson Gallery.

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On Doa Aly’s ‘Desire, Deceit and Difficult Deliveries’ at Townhouse

This exhibition took place at Townhouse Gallery in May 2013, but thankfully Contemporary And still published my review as a more general piece about her recent work.

Roy is a young man standing in the sunlit corner of an ex-industrial space – metal framed thirties windows and concrete floor – and he is rotating vertically very, very slowly. 

Doa Aly, Sequence Four-In Three Movement (Myrrah) , 2013. Four-split screen one channel video projection, HD, silent, 8m18s. Performed by Sama Waly. Image by Rana Einemr and courtesy Doa Aly

Doa Aly, Sequence Four-In Three Movement (Myrrah) , 2013. Four-split screen one channel video projection, HD, silent, 8m18s. Performed by Sama Waly. Image by Rana Einemr and courtesy Doa Aly

Read more here at the Contemporary And website. 

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Fragmentary Fiction and Cryptic Objects

A short focus piece on Iman Issa’s recent work for Frieze issue 160.

Iman Issa’s work often appears cryptic. The depictions and objects in her work do not necessarily denote their subject matter, nor do they reveal her highly strategic creative process. In many of her recent projects, there is a tacit insistence that her materials – which include sculptural objects, photography and video – speak of far more than their own content suggests.


Iman Issa, Triptych #6, 2009. Photographs, text. Dimensions variable.

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Then, now, and Roznama 2


Exhibition visitor contemplating Ahmed Badry’s ‘Plug’

Reprising an exhibition format first presented in 2006, “Roznama 2” at Medrar was a survey exhibition of the current activities of a young to mid-career lineup of artists. The previous “Roznama,” co-organized by Medrar and the Contemporary Image Collective, was photography and video-based; seven years later the media format is broader. In Urdu, roznama refers to daily occurrences, though this is more an indication of the curatorial intent to show “what’s happening today,” rather than any sort of thematic constraint on the artworks. 

Here is my review of Roznama 2 for Mada Masr. Read more >>>>>

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Ugly Feelings at Townhouse Gallery

I don’t want to add to the snake oil-salesman reputation of curators, but art people are always talking in one way or another about a “crisis” — of representation, for example, or ethics, or some other noble yet nebulous concept — and then coming up with exhibitions that claim to face up to it. It’s an inevitable feature of a profession that is constantly called upon to justify its existence.

Review of Ugly Feelings curated by Ania Szremski at Townhouse Gallery, Cairo.


Still from ‘Auroratone’, Cecil Stokes, c.1940

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