The Popular Show in Cairo

The Popular Show was an exhibition initiated by Sarah Rifky/CIRCA at the Townhouse Gallery in Cairo that ran from March 6–April 6, 2011. As the curator of the space, Rifky conceived a show that was open to everyone (…) regardless of age, gender or background, as long as they lived in Egypt, thus all works submitted will automatically become part of the collective art installation-exhibition “The Popular Show.” Rifky called the project an exhibition experiment that allows for a participatory and collective definition of the gallery space by the public. It must be read in the context it which it was conceived, namely as the first exhibition project that took place at Townhouse since the events of January 2011. 

Many artists made something site-specific or brought in their existing work but I decided to participate by making a new piece, namely a poster: In the wake of January 2011, there was a proverbial explosion of entrepreneurial spirit in Tahrir Square. People sold food and drinks but also countless trinkets, often handmade items, in the colors of the Egyptian flag. So for The Popular Show at Townhouse, I printed a poster called Untitled (25+5 items in red white and black) featuring a grid of 30 things I bought in the Square: socks, crocheted cell phone pouches, tissues, cookies, flags, buttons, stickers, t-shirts, caps, beaded necklaces, eye masks, ribbons, keychains, and laminated cards with various pictures on them to wear around your neck or hang from a rearview mirror.