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Khaled hafez
Born 1963 Cairo, Egypt
Lives & works in Cairo

Khaled Hafez explores the complex nature of identity and the factors that shape it through painting, photography, installation, interdisciplinary art, and video and film. With a focus on his native Egypt, Hafez traces the amalgamation of cultural elements that have surfaced over the last five decades, as the country has experienced significant socioeconomic changes, increased militarisation, and intense periods of political upheaval.

In the artist’s large-scale, mixed media paintings, for example, Egypt’s African, West Asian, Mediterranean, Arab, and Islamic lineages intersect with its Pharaonic and Judeo-Christian history in the form of overlapping signs. Between his figures and the monumental imagery that surrounds them is the flotsam of globalisation, particularly the iconography of popular culture. Often shown with the methodical movement and measured temporality of ancient friezes, his protagonists seem to make their way across the composition towards an unknown destination that exists beyond the perceivable boundaries of the canvas. At the same time, the artist emphasises a physical state of transformation and renders their bodies with pictures of body builders and advertisement cutouts that are enlarged as archival photocopies and silkscreen prints, referencing the idealised body proportions of Mediterranean mythology and the meeting of fiction with reality. This assemblage of found images signals metamorphosis while also pointing to what Hafez describes as ‘cultural recycling,’ elements of the past that resurface and inform the present. Painterly backgrounds situate his figures in limitless environments where space is undefined.

Born in 1963, Hafez trained at Cairo’s Faculty of Fine Arts in the late 1980s, and subsequently received a Master of Fine Arts degree in New Media and Digital Arts from the Transart Institute, New York and the Danube University, Krems.

Hafez has contributed to large-scale events such as the TRIO Biennial, Rio de Janeiro (2015); Venice Biennale (2015, 2013); FotoFest, Houston (2014); and the Havana Biennial (2012). 

The artist’s recent exhibitions include the first Biennial of the South, Caracas, Venezuela, (2016); Mdina Cathedral Contemporary Art Biennale, Malta (2015); Ayyam Gallery - 12 Alserkal Avenue, Dubai (2015); Palais De La Culture, Constantine (2015); Galerie Naimah Schutter, Berlin (2013); AB Gallery, Emmen (2013); and Meem Gallery, Dubai (2013). His video works and films have screened at the Rotterdam International Film Festival (2012); the CPH: DOX/Copenhagen Film Festival (2011); and the New Museum’s African Film Festival, New York (2010). Hafez’s works are housed in the State Museum of Art, Thessaloniki; The British Museum, London; the Saatchi Collection, London; and the Maraya Art Centre, Sharjah, among others. 




56th Venice Biennale, Italy, 2015
3rd Mardin Biennale, Turkey, 2015
15th Fotofest Biennale, Houston, USA, 2014
55th Venice Biennale, Italy, 2013
11th Havana Biennale, Cuba, 2012
9th Bamako Photo Biennale, Mali, 2011
8th Mercosul Biennale, Brasil, 2011
12th Cairo Biennale, Egypt, 2010
Manifesta 8, Murcia, Spain, 2010
2nd Thessaloniki Biennale, Greece, 2009
3rd Guangzhou Triennale, China, 2008
7th Sharjah Biennale, UAE, 2007
1st Singapore Biennale, 2006
6th & 7th Dakar Biennale, Senegal, 2004 & 2006


Hafez works were shown at

Uppsala Museum of Art, Uppsala, Sweden, 2014
Art Sonje Center, Seoul, Korea, 2014
The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY, USA, 2013
British Museum, UK, 2012
Havremagasinet Bodens Konstcentrum, 2012
Hiroshima Museum of Contemporary Art, Japan, 2012
State Museum of contemporary art, Thessaloniki, Greece, 2011, 2013
Museum of Contemporary Art, Roskilde, Denmark, 2007 & 2011
Instituto Tomie Ohtake, Sao Paolo, Brazil, 2011
Yuchengco Museum, Manila, Philippines, 2011
The Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art , Icatha, NY, USA, 2010
The New Museum NY, USA, 2010
Casa Arabe, Madrid, 2010
Saatchi Gallery, London, UK, 2009
The Queens Museum, NY, USA, 2008
Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France, 2008 & 2012
MuHKA Museum of Art, Antwerp, Belgium, 2007 & 2011
Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany, 2007
Bamako National Museum of Art, Mali, 2007, 2011

Special Video Screening Programs
Tate Modern, London, UK, 2007
Centre George Pompidou, Paris, France, 2010 & 2012


Film Festivals Include

41st Rotterdam International Film Festival 2012
15th International Short Film Festival Winterthur, Switzerland, 2011
CPH:DOX/ Copenhagen Film Festival, Denmark, 2011
17th African Film Festival, New Museum, New York, USA, 2010
8th Ismailia International Film Festival, Egypt, 2004

Awards include

Fulbright Fellowship, (Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, PA), USA, 2005
Rockefeller Bellagio Fellowship, Italy, 2009
Francophonie Prize, 6th Dakar Biennale, Senegal, 2004
Fondation Blachere Prize, 9th Bamako Photo Biennale, Mali, 2011

Nominations Include:
2012 - The 4th Prix Pictet Photography Prize (long list)
2011 - The Sovereign African Art Prize (Photography Shortlist)


Public Collections

The British Museum, London, UK
The Saatchi Collection, London, UK
MuHKA Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp, Belgium
Ars Aevi Museum of Contemporary Art, Sarajevo, Bosnia
Horcynus Orca Foundation, Messina, Italy
Mali National Museum, Bamako, Mali
Maraya Art Centre, Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE
State Museum of Art, Thessaloniki, Greece

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