Amal Kenawy’s work explores political, social and feminist issues, primarily in Egypt, and reflects on topics of death and regeneration through animation, painting, drawing, sketches and journals as well as video works, installations, performance documentation and archival material. Working in a wide range of mediums, Kenawy explored identity and illusion against a background of memory. She sensed and exposed a metaphorical world hiding beneath the physical, attempting to make the unseen visible.
Her work has featured in several solo exhibitions, including Homage to Amal Kenawy, The Khalid Shoman Foundation, Darat Al Funun, Amman (2012); Space, Karim Francis Contemporary Art Gallery, Cairo (2006); Booby Trapped Heaven, Mashrabia Gallery, Cairo (2006); The Purple Artificial Forest, Falaki Gallery, American University of Cairo (2005); and The Journey, Townhouse Gallery for Contemporary Art, Cairo (2004).
Her work has also been shown in group exhibitions, such as Our World is Burning, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2020); Rabat Biennial (2019); In Rebellion. Female Narratives In The Arab World, Institut Valencià d’Art Modern (IVAM), Valencia (2017); Cross-border: Video works by contemporary artists from the Southern Mediterranean, Pataka Art + Museum, Porirua, New Zealand (2016); Lucy’s Iris. Contemporary African Women Artists, Rochechouart Museum of Contemporary Art, France (2016); Demonstrating Minds: Disagreements in Contemporary Art, Kiasma, Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki (2015); The Divine Comedy, Museum für Moderne Kunst (MMK), Frankfurt (2014); Cross-border: Contemporary Female Artists from the Arabian Mediterranean Region, Center for Art & Media, Karlsruhe, Germany (2013); Told/Untold/Retold, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha (2010); 12th International Cairo Biennale, Giza (2010); 52nd International Venice Biennial (2007); and Sharjah Biennial 8 (2007), among others.
Kenawy was awarded The Grand Prize of the 12th Cairo Biennial (2010); Sharjah Biennial Prize (2007); Best Animated Film Prize, 12th Cairo International Film Festival (2006); Global Crossings Prize, Los Angeles (2005); State National Prize for Art, Science and Literature, Egypt (2004); UNESCO Grand Prize, International Cairo Biennale (1998); and 1st prize in sculpture, 7th Salon of Youth, Cairo (1996). She also received a grant from the Pro-Helvetia Swiss Arts Council for an artist residency in Aarau, Switzerland (2004).
Kenawy studied film and fashion design at the Academy of Fine Arts, Cinema Institute, Cairo (1997–1999) and earned a bachelor’s degree in painting from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Helwan University, Egypt (1999).
Born in 1974 in Cairo, Kenawy continued to live and work there until her passing in 2012.
Sharjah Biennial 8
Amal Kenawy: Frozen Memory (2018)