Avatars and artifacts for separated selves
February 15 - April 30th. Solo Exhibition
Fort Point Arts Community and The Gallery at Atlantic Wharf
290 Congress St. Boston. MA 02210
Gallery is open during the pandemic, and limited artist gallery tours with the artist will be scheduled
contact firstname.lastname@example.org to attend a gallery tour
Two if By Sea is about the feeling of separation encountered by those who relocate to new cities, an ocean away from home. Whether in pursuit of education, opportunities, or because of sociopolitical strife, the feeling of distance is unique: For these people, the gap between the past and the present is occupied by saltwater, a constant reminder of the individual’s displacement. Like the ocean, this experience is both overwhelming and navigable. The separation can be treacherous, threatening to drown the stranger in longing for home. It also can be held in focus, reminding the emigrant of who they are and what their purpose is, even if that purpose is simply to return.
Egyptian-American artist, Basil El Halwagy spent the last 10 years creating costumed avatars for photographs and public performances. El Halwagy photographs his avatars in Boston and other coastal cities. Each image contains several iterations of the character, suggesting the separated selves attempting reunification through dance. Interwoven line patterns consistently dominate in El Halwagy’s costumes. El Halwagy shrouds his avatars in motifs from cultures he claims, and those he’s encountered in Boston. These patterns give each character its unique visual register and identity. The cultural patterns reveal the self’s relocation, and as paths, could also become a map, guiding the avatar back to its origins. Creating patterned avatars allows El Halwagy to deepen his connections with his culture, and help others see the presence of “outsiders'' in shaping American life.