Amado Alfadni has been selected with his project SUPERHEROES for the 4th edition of Making neighbourhood project “Altered alterities”

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I am an Egyptian-born Sudanese artist. My childhood was composed of two environments: the Cairene street and the Sudanese home. The relationship, and sometimes tension, between the two strongly influenced my view of both cultures. The need to express this dual perspective led me to make art initially and has informed my work since.

My work discusses the relationship between the included and the excluded, and opens a dialogue on issues of identity and politics. By working with forgotten historical events and current state policies, I raise questions of power dynamics between the individual and authority on a social and political level.

I engage audiences by creating interactive works such as Passport Agency, which was exhibited at the Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh U.S. The piece was placed at the entrance of the museum. In order to enter the exhibition, the American audience had to go through the same visa process that a Third World citizen would face when attempting to enter the United States. Six actors posing as border protection agents followed interview procedures from U.S embassies around the developing world. At its best, this work contributes to the privileged viewer’s awareness of discrimination based on national, economic, racial, and social background.

For the project If I Were President, I created an interactive visual forum to engage a specific audience in a contemporary historical moment. In 2012 and 2014, during Egyptian presidential elections, I posted thousands of blank posters outside of the city centre of major Egyptian cities with only the words “If I Were President,” giving a platform for the communities to express their needs, dreams and ideologies. I then created videos based on interviews in the communities and screened them in the same neighborhood. The project was replicated by BBC Arabic in Yemen and Tunisia during their presidential elections.

My recent work is based on research and documentation of ignored historical events, especially colonial history and re-reading it from the perspective of the native. The Black Holocaust Museum, exhibited at Contemporary Image Collective in Cairo, Egypt, is based on research about the first German concentration camp in modern day Namibia, where 3,000 members of the Herero tribe were exterminated. In the Herero funerary tradition, a person bearing the same name as the dead would burn a holy fire after sunset in order to release the soul and allow it to ascend to heaven. The installation contained 3,000 pieces of marked wood representing the souls of the victims that were never released because their names were lost. The installation also included audio describing images of the victims taken from German archives. With this work, I am making visible a piece of intentionally neglected history, and complicating the meaning of the term Holocaust for North Africans.

Continuing in this vein of historical research, I am digging into the history of the Sudanese troops in the Mexican-French war at the end of the 19th century. I focus on the forgotten lives of 447 young men who were kidnapped from Sudan and sent to Mexico to fight for the French army in a war that they had nothing to do with. With the diaries of two of these enslaved soldiers, a few names, and some images, I am reimagining their stories as an exploration into military slavery in Africa.

 

Website: www. amadoalfadni.com