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Wael Shawky, Al Araba Al Madfuna, 2012, video, black-and-white, sound, 21 minutes.

Wael Shawky

KW Institute for Contemporary Art

Wael Shawky, Al Araba Al Madfuna, 2012, video, black-and-white, sound, 21 minutes.

Wael Shawky’s elaborate filmed marionette piece Cabaret Crusades: The Horror Show File, 2010, based on the history of the First Crusade at the end of the eleventh century, was one of the most impressive works at Documenta 13. The second part of his planned video trilogy, Cabaret Crusades: The Path to Cairo, 2012, was recently shown as part of the Berlin exhibition “Wael Shawky. Al Araba Al Madfuna,” curated by Susanne Pfeffer.

The battle continues: In this second installment, Aleppo’s ruler agrees to mount a cross on the minaret of the city’s Great Mosque; Jerusalem burns; heads roll on both the Muslim and Christian sides. Relativizing the canonical Western write-up of this history, Shawky closely follows Amin Maalouf’s 1983 study, The Crusades Through Arab Eyes, which portrays the Christians as culturally backward and also emphasizes the Crusaders’ economic stakes in religious

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