Wétiko: Cowboys and Indigenes: Nermine Hammam
Opening Reception: March 14, 2014
In Native America Cree tribes, the term Wétiko is used to describe “an event, person, or spirit who terrorized other creatures by means of terrible acts.” For Egyptian based artist-photographer Nermine Hammam, she has witnessed firsthand protesters in Cairo faking their deaths for visiting photojournalists and Western media and then using those images to rally support for an attack on Syria, thereby challenging our trust.
In “Wetiko: Cowboys and Indigenes”, Hammam has manipulated historical paintings of the American West and Orientalist paintings with recent photographs of the Arab Spring.
“We think we know how to look at something, but if we change one element it affects our entire reading of the scene,” Hammam explains. “In Wétiko I deliberately use the chronological collapse between images not only to heighten the absurdity of the situation but also to mimic the realism and historic authenticity.”
The exhibition falls in line with FotoFest’s View from the Inside: Contemporary Arab Video, Photography and Mixed Media Art theme, and will feature works from seven artists and photojournalists—living, deceased and currently missing—each whose images tell the story of life within the 22 Arab countries, highlighting events and traditions in Egypt, Israel, Iraq, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as well as generating a dialogue between East and West.