Hala Elkoussy: zoom into inner reality

December 2006 -

One weekend each year the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten is open to the general public: in 2006 this was the weekend of 25 - 26 November. Nearly one-third of the fifty resident artists is from the South, including Hala Elkoussy (Egypt, 1974). She completed her MA Image and Communication at Goldsmiths College in London in 2002. Her work has been shown in Africa, Asia and Europe. She will soon complete her period with the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten.

Hala Elkoussy had two works on display during the Open Ateliers: one photographic and another that was shown for the first time, a video. The video, titled 'We're by the sea now', consists of thirteen chapters in Arabic, with English subtitles.

Chapter before last: For a better future: against the backdrop of a red velvet curtain, a teenager behind a pulpit holds an earnest speech about a city with plenty of room for pedestrians, lots of green and little traffic.
Essentially inner beauty will shine through: in a backstage dressing room a beautiful girl talks about her dream of becoming Miss Egypt.

The structure is much like a bundle of poetry. There is no conflict or plot. These anti-linear 'true-to-life portraits' reflect the desires of young people. Most are full of hope. But stories about fights and suicides because of the death of a music idol show the opposite side of the medal.

With an artistic mise en scène and strong film instruments, Hala Elkoussy uncovers human characteristics that are recognisable but often hidden.

stills from ‘We’re by the sea now’, digital video, 45 mn, Hala Elkoussy