- Wael Shawky born 1971
- Video, high definition, projection, colour and sound (stereo)
- Purchased with funds provided by the Middle East North Africa Acquisitions Committee 2013
Throughout his practice Wael Shawky re-visits history across a range of media and storytelling techniques. His 2010 video Cabaret Crusades: The Horror Show File reconstructs events that took place 1095–1099, in the first of a series of religious wars known as the Crusades. These military campaigns were initiated and supported by Roman Catholic Church leaders against the Islamic rulers and inhabitants of Jerusalem.
The artist carefully built the stage sets by hand. They include intricately embroidered costumes and miniature palaces, reflecting the period of the events. Shawky used 200-year-old marionettes in place of actors to portray the characters. These are voiced in classical Arabic. The traditional Italian marionettes were borrowed from the Lupi family collection, Turin. Their strings are intentionally visible throughout the video. This highlights the marionettes’ skilled manipulation and connects with questions of power and agency in the work.
Gallery label, November 2022
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