Wael Shawky’s (b.1971) Al Madfuna… films tell the stories of Mohamed Mustagab (Dayrut al Sharif). Based on ‘Sunflowers’, Al Araba Al Madfuna III is an allegory about the corrupting influence of a new kind of crop.
Children play adults, wearing grown-up costume, the boys with glued-on moustaches. They mime to adult voices speaking classical Arabic texts. They wander among spectacular Egyptian ruins.
The film is an ultramarine blue. But it is inverted so that the desert is a snowscape with pink and blue fairy lights for stars. Light is dark and dark is light. The girls wear ‘white’, the tunnels are light.
Supported by the Moving Image Fund for Museums, an Art Fund project conceived in partnership with and supported by Thomas Dane Gallery with the generous support of a number of private donors; and the Arts Council England/V&A Museum Purchase Grant Fund; plus Bristol Museums Development Trust, the Friends of Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives and the Friends of Bristol Art Gallery.
Still image courtesy of Lisson Gallery © the artist