Hagar Masoud was born in 1989 and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Art Education from Helwan University, Cairo in 2011. She is a media artist, working with sound art, photography and installation. She has a particular interest in open-source interaction. She is a member of the female artist collective Cairo Bats.
Cairo Bats is a Female Artist Collective Based in Cairo, staging photographs through playful interactions in urban public spaces.
Core of being - Challenge
… I had a lot of daily walks in the city and I clearly observed the wild plants growing in every corner in the city, whether in a stone wall, between street asphalt, or in between stairs. They imposed their presence in diversity in a nonprepared environment and occupied different locations. As a walker, you would observe them as green colonies. And, they became a visual identity of Florence. Which made them unique, strong, and able to challenge geographical boundaries as much as I do.
Therefore, I toured the city to discover and document a lot of wild plants growing in unexpected
environments, locations, in different and diverse forms. These wild plants don’t exist in Cairo
nor is there presence so widespread in other European cities.
After I went to my studio at Cite International des Arts, I transformed my studio into occupied
locations in an attempt to create a conversation between wild-growing plants in the city and
barriers, as a metaphor for human movement and restrictions, as well as a visual conversation
between living plants and printed plant images.
I used traffic cones and traffic tape, prints of the wild plants of Florence, in addition to
producing a wild plant wall installation out of white wall tile as a continuity of wild-growing plants
in tough environments. In addition to the illustrated walking map book inspired by body
movement, pace, and energy, produced after a daily walk for 22 days in Paris, after my arrival
from Florence. (H.M.)
Act 1: The Roof
CAIRO BATS is a female artist collective based in Cairo staging photographs through playful interactions in urban public spaces. The resulting images aim to destabilize ways of thinking about how female bodies perform in the city, inhabit specific environments, and interact with the constant manoeuvring in everyday spaces.
The Cairo Bats group has been working together for seven years and currently consists of the artists Mai Al Shazly, Nadia Mounier, Hagar Masoud, Omneia Naguib, Yvonne Buchheim, Magdalena Kallenberger and Mireille El Magrissy.
Act 1: The Roof is the first public exhibition of Cairo Bats’ work and assembles a series of pictures spanning a period of two years taken on roof tops in the city. These spaces navigate and defy limitations of the everyday environments women inhabit. In the images the members of the group act as the cast on this urban stage, equivalent to improvisational theatre. Their performative interventions evolve in response to architectural features and objects they find in the chosen place: buckets, rugs, satellite dishes, furniture and metal bars. Playful interactions among the individual group members are the basis of their working process whereby the camera is a witness to their performative interventions with all six group members constantly moving between, in front of and behind the camera. A particular emphasis is given to the positioning of clothes: a pair of boots, a black shirt, a white dress are used as stand-ins for absent members of the group.
The theme of exploring absence and presence in relation to given circumstances and settings continues throughout the series; however, at night different light sources join the cast and underline the play of what is visible and invisible.
The location of the roof at the margins of the domestic order of the house or the apartment, in between the private and the public, echoes in the groups recurring play with what can be seen and what is hidden from view, and their relation to topics inherent to working with cameras such as the picture frame, light and darkness or the camera position. Combining pictures taken in different locations, by day and by night, from the earliest working sessions to the most recent one Act 1: The Roof shares with the public what has so far been a working process within the collective.