Part One of “Frozen Memory" (2002) - Egyptian Artist AMAL KENAWYIn collaboration with her brother, Abdel Ghani Kenawy, Amal produced this early Video, Photography, and Sculpture installation in 2002 as part of a project that explores issues of birth, death, and marriage. Themes that were heavily featured in most of her artistic work afterwards, and constitute a base for her progression and versatility in tackling the these topics from different perspectives.In Frozen Memory, Amal tackles the effect these issues have on the individual, not based on his/her social space, but on how they affect the function of ones soul within the confinement of the body. A main aspect of this study is how the uncertainty that comes with birth, marriage, and death contribute to ones emotional and mental development. How not knowing ones place within a certain setting often leads to the alienation of the soul both within a social setting, but also within the confinements of body. All of these themes are introduced within the limits of Amal and her brother’s memories and personal experiences.This eventually leads Amal to one question:shall I die after my lifetime or during it?
Harry Clarke illustrations from Goethe’s Faust, 1925
...”Mortal! the loftiest attributes of men,
Reason and Knowledge, only thus contemn,
Still let the Prince of lies, without control,
With shows, and mocking charms delude thy soul
I have thee unconditionally then!
Fate hath endow’d him with an ardent mind,
Which unrestrain’d still presses on for ever,
And whose precipitate endeavour
Earth’s joys o’erleaping, leaveth them behind.
Him will I drag through life’s wild waste,
Through scenes of vapid dulness, where at last
Bewilder’d, he shall falter, and stick fast;
And, still to mock his greedy haste,
Viands and drink shall float his craving lips beyond -
Vainly he’ll seek refreshment, anguish-tost,
And were he not the devil’s by his bond,
Yet must his soul infallibly be lost!”…
Anne Brigman, Heart of the Storm, 1918, gelatin silver print sheet and image, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase from the Charles Isaacs Collection made possible in part by the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment