Hala Elkoussy (b. 1974, Cairo) utilises photography, film and installation art to relate to her hometown Cairo. She depicts the possibility of each individual creating a living space in a city and country lacking sufficient social involvement and infrastructure. Her idea is to create a story from the ground up, with the everyday experiences of the common individual serving as the starting point. The Bonniers Konsthall exhibition is the first time Elkoussy exhibits in Stockholm.
In Search of a City (in the papers of Sein) (2011) is a film and a collection of photographs and books. We experience Cairo’s history through a voiceover narration and the female protagonist Sein, whose identity shifts amongst characters throughout the film. The film transports us through the city’s winding streets, through both public and private spaces. 200 years of history between local Egyptians and foreigners, particularly those related to British and French colonial rule, creates the foundation of the story. The story maintains that Cairo was built according to European standards in order to make an impression on Europe. Sein is a female flaneur, wandering about contemporary Cairo, recalling memories and historical events. The film took years of research before it was complete. The artist has used past events, travelogues, literature, journals and letters as her raw materials.
A recurring theme in Hala Ekoussy’s artistic work is her critical insight into the contemporary political and social system. She poses questions through the use of a poetically charged language, one where forgotten, disregarded stories are brought to life.