Exhibition by Aya Tarek - Curated by Marwa Benhalim
9th December 2021 till 22nd December 2021
Rendered in a chaotic arrangement of splatter and controlled markings, a slap of meat floats in a bright blue background, with a striking ‘Halal’ sprayed on top in neon green. An authentic wagyu beef lives in its alternate universe, a puddle of blue, green, and gold, surrounded by crisp black darkness. While a T-Bone steak, with shades of red, lined with creamy white, in its complete raw essence, is so mouth-watering, you will want to eat it!
An ode to our consumption, a never-ending cycle devouring one plate after another, TOKEN questions our constant need to verify and abide by the social dogmas we are fed. Between abstraction and the figure lies this new body of work encapsulated in square compositions, fragmented into pure color, into a formless form. A stage in Tarek’s journey to absolve herself of the narratives in her surrounding class culture. At times unruly yet placed with control and precision, the paint runs smooth as if made from layers of butter. The subject of the paintings is no longer its original self, but particles reflecting Tarek’s disenchantment with the believed notions of classist success.
Sprouting from internet memes and hours upon hours of scrolling through the never-ending rabbit hole of social media, the constant bombardment of visual material one is exposed to daily becomes impossible to digest. This overfeed emerges in the digital NFT artworks that vary from a dinosaur racing towards a golden barrel of oil while the moon explodes into small sherds in the background to a large big brother eye surveilling vehicles floating in a vast space. They occupy a realistic yet alternate universe appropriating meme humor and sarcasm while addressing surveillance, apocalypse, and greed.
TOKEN explores our obsession with consumption and its effect on the Egyptian societal ideals that dominate our virtual and non-virtual realities. TOKEN is beyond a symbol, keepsake, or unit of cryptocurrency. TOKEN is a rollercoaster ride that merges paintings and digital NFT artworks in an ideological and visual twist that will transport the viewer into a realm of cultural critique and admiration.