Fellows of Contemporary Art awarded the 2018 Curators Award to Suzanne Isken, Executive Director, and Holly Jerger, Curator, of the Craft & Folk Art Museum for their exhibition of the artist Sherin Guirguis.
Guirguis is a mid-career artist who was born in 1974 in Luxor, Egypt. She immigrated to the U.S. in 1988. Her BA in Painting and Sculpture is from UC Santa Barbara, and her MFA in Painting is from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.
Guirguis’ exhibition will entail a combination of two-dimensional work and sculpture. Her research on an Egyptian feminist philosopher, writer, and editor, Doria Shatik, who died in 1975, will be the foundation of this exhibition. Shaftik started a radical feminist movement in Egypt that contributed to Egyptian women winning the right to vote in 1956.
An example of Sherin Guirguis sculpture, shown below, is on view in L.A. Exuberance: New Gifts by Artists at LACMA until April 2, on the third floor of the Broad building.
Untitled (el sokareya) , 2013 plywood (photo Judith Tuch)
Another example of Ms. Guirgus’s work is included in the current Desert X exhibition in the Coachella Valley. As described in “Desert X’ Treats Arid Space as a Rich Canvas” (NYT February 25, 2017)
“At another trailhead further west, near the base of the Whitewater Preserve, the Los Angeles-based Sherin Guirguis has built a domed, earthen sculpture like the pigeon towers popular in Egypt, where she grew up. The towers are typically used to breed the birds for food or sport (and, more rarely, for espionage missions). Her sculpture has niches for birds, but she doesn’t expect any to actually use it; she wants viewers to wonder about its significance.
Sherin Guirguis’s “One I Call” includes niches for birds. Emily Berl for The New York Times
“I hear people say the desert is a blank canvas,” she said. “Actually it’s full of life and full of histories; we just don’t value them enough. I wanted to reach into the history of these desert communities that are often marginalized.”
The Whitewater Preserve has a “carry-in, carry-out” policy for garbage. Ms. Guirguis has followed this approach for her work, too, using soil and clay from a nearby quarry and mountain spring water. The only imported material was jute, in the form of long sandbags she packed with soil to make the tower’s building blocks. Chances are the work will erode a bit because of rain and wind. At the end of the project, she said, she will hose down the surviving structure and take away the sandbags, so all that remains is a pile of earth.