Khattab in Verzasca Foto Festival

Pro Helvetia Il Cairo, Arti visive

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Egyptian visual artist Mahmoud Khattab participated in the artistic residency of Verzasca Foto Festival from the 15th of July till the 4th of September 2023.

Mahmoud Khattab connected with the context inspired by the nature of the valley of Verzasca, interacting with the community and other international residents, where he developed and produced his project titled “A curve that warmly fits yours”.

Khattab exhibited his project in the open exhibition in Sonogno, Switzerland where the green space and nature was the core of the curation of the exhibition.

Khattab shared his experience saying: “My stay in the valley of Verzasca helped not only trace a living valley, but gave me courage to observe how valleys’ energies, both feminine and masculine, inspire me. I have been inspired by works of Italian sculptor Gian Bernini, and how in his twenties he became known for carving flesh into marble stone. I wanted to see a valley’s epoch of change on its rocks into curves that warmly fit our bodies. From making connections in villages along the valley, to spending time researching in quiet forests, it is a beautiful sanctuary for artists who seek to be inspired by bodies of water and mountains.” 

This marks the fourth collaboration between Pro Helvetia Cairo and Verzasca Foto Festival as each year an artist from the Arab region participates in the residency and the festival.

Mahmoud Khattab is an independent photographer and writer based in Cairo. Mahmoud’s stories span years of observing change and reminiscence of hills and himself in stills and writings. In his story, The Dog Sat Where We Parted, which was presented in Arles: Les Rencontres de la Photographie, Mahmoud narrates a year as a conscript: venturing into the desert with a dog and an individuality stripped. Finding salvation in poetry and visual. His works have been shown in Finland, France, China and others. Recently, Mahmoud became a fellow of Magnum Foundation for his work in tracing disappearing valleys in eastern deserts of Cairo.

The project “Residenze artistiche in Valle Verzasca” allows professional photographers to develop a series of images in total artistic freedom while staying in the Verzasca Valley. The photographers are selected based on their previous works. They accept the challenge of plunging into a reality that is either in part or completely new to them and work on a personal project.

The images produced strive to show diverse views and contemporary representations of the Valley of Verzasca.

Verzasca Foto Festival

Verzasca Foto Festival aims to promote emerging international photographers and to support visual arts in rural and peripheral areas, by giving free space through connection and dialogues with nature, offering access to different forms of expression and ways of visual storytelling.