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Catalog Data

Chant Avedissian, 1951-2018, born Egypt  Search this
Mixed media on corrugated cardboard, cloth
H x W: 248 x 150 cm (97 5/8 x 59 1/16 in.)
ca. 1994
Label Text:
The central figure in the large left panel is Gamal Abdel Nasser (1918-1970). In 1952 he led a military coup to depose King Farouk (pictured wearing red fez) and became the Republic of Egypt's first president in 1956. The images surrounding Nasser reflect events and changing conditions advanced during Nasser's regime. Transistor radios depict Nasser's favorite method of disseminating propaganda; working women and factories, the rise of industrialism and International Socialism; and "No photo," warnings of spies. The image of individuals carrying a bucket (top) refers to the Oasis of Farafra, where political prisoners were confined, and indicates the tensions present during the Cold War and Suez Canal crisis. The Soviet-backed Aswan High Dam, the hammer and sickle and Egyptian and Russian flags further document the political choices of the period.
The panel on the left contains images from popular culture, including Yakan, a famous soccer player in the 1950s, and Dave Johns, Mr. America of 1977 and Mr. Universe of 1978. A portrait of Nazem el Ghazali, a well-known Iraqi singer, and a depiction of Klwatan, an area representing the Arab nation, adorn the right panel.
Exhibition History:
Heroes: Principles of African Greatness, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., November 16, 2019–October 3, 2021
A Brave New World, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., August 10, 2010-November 27, 2011
Chant Avedissian: A Contemporary Artist of Egypt, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., November 19, 2000-February 19, 2001
Published References:
Hornbeck, S.E. 2013 Intersection Conservation Approaches to Ethnographic and Contemporary Art: Ephermeral Art at the National Museum of African Art. AIC Objects Specialty Group Postprings, vol 20, pp 213.
Hornbeck, Stephanie E. 2009. "A Conservation Conundrum: Ephemeral Art at the National Museum of African Art." African Arts 42 (3), p. 55, no. 5.
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Credit Line:
Purchased with funds provided by the Smithsonian Collections Acquisition Program
Object number:
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National Museum of African Art Collection
Data Source:
National Museum of African Art