Artist Pilots Mentee 2022: Yara Mekawei
Yara Mekawei is an Egyptian sound artist and scholar based in Berlin since 2021. Yara draws inspiration from the dynamic flow of urban centres and the key infrastructure of cities to create her sonic bricolages. Her research-based artistic practice raises questions about how to intimately connect ideologies of the mythic past with the developed technology of the eternal present.
With the idea of sound being an essential tool of “vision”, an idea central in her recently published in the Arabic language first book, There Are Sounds of the Moving Images, Yara Mekawei explores ways to implement optical transactions from musical conversations, by transferring sound waves to visual forms. She approaches the composition process inspired and informed by ideas from the domains of philosophy, architecture, and social science to shape conceptual messages for the audience. Using such ideas, Yara builds her body of work in a way that generates a continuity, where each art piece is linked to and follows the next. Moreover, her work is informed by her identity and investigate her position of being a woman in an East African society.
Since 2011, Yara Mekawei’s work has been shown and performed internationally in places such as SAVVY Contemporary (Berlin, 2021), SHUBBAK Festival (London, 2021), Rote Fabrik (Zürich, 2019), MEMPHIS Gallery (Linz, 2019), Halle14 (Leipzig, 2019), Dakar Biennial (Dakar, 2018), Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival (Johannesburg, 2018), Cairotronica festival (2018), Lagos Biennial (Lagos, 2017), and Biennale méditerranéenne dʼart contemporain dʼOran (Oran, 2014), among others.
In 2018, Yara founded Radio SUBMARINE, dedicated to broadcast the diversity of music from the African continent.