Moataz Nasr

Born 1961, Alexandria, Egypt
Lives and works in Cairo, Egypt

By Isabella Ellaheh Hughes
Self-taught artist Moataz Nasr originally trained as an economist before pursuing a career in the arts. He works in a multitude of mediums ranging from textile, painting, and video, to installation and sculpture. Egypt remains a central focus of inspiration and rumination, yet his approach renders work that is thematically relevant throughout the Islamic world. In El Thaher Wa El Baten 
(The Manifest and the Hidden), Nasr has taken a phrase from the Qur’an (57:3) which, in full, says, “He is the First and the Last, the Manifest and the Hidden, and He is the Knower of all things.” It is presented in a black-and-white primary circle, with soft underlay of gray text that echoes the inner circle. In its materiality it invokes the vernacular tradition of textiles with verses from the Qur’an in Arabic calligraphy, which are an inherent part of tangible, Islamic cultural heritage. (The most renowned of its kind is the kiswah that covers the Kaaba in Mecca.) Active in the international art scene since 2001, Nasr won the Grand Prix at the 8th International Cairo Biennial and will represent Egypt in the 2017 Venice Biennale.