In this lecture, I focus on the work of Gazbia Sirry (1924-2019), to illustrate how leading modernist artists were, in the wake of the 1952 Free Officers Revolution, swayed by Gamal Abdel Nasser’s charisma, putting their art in the service of his brand of Egyptian nationalism and Pan-Arabist ideology. But how did Sirry respond to Nasser’s increasingly strongman regime and the devastating outcome of the 1967 War? We follow the formal and tonal shifts in Sirry’s work as it responded to, and was shaped by Nasser’s and post-revolutionary Egypt’s political fortunes.
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