Artist Profile: Heba Amin


Heba Amin's My love for you, Egypt, increases by the day is featured this month on The Download.

Still from My love for you, Egypt, increases by the day (Heba Amin, 2012)

From The Conceptual Tourist, Fragmented City, and other works, it's clear that the relationship between abandoned buildings and the surrounding's inhabitants is important to you. What experience are you investigating with these relationships? Does it alter depending on your medium (e.g., drawing, website, installation)?    

I think my fascination with abandoned buildings has to do with the abstract, the feeling in the air. They fascinate me as spaces of lost memory or as time capsules of history. I am also interested in how they fit within a broader framework and what they say about the contemporary context.

I grew up in Cairo, where its visual characteristics bluntly display the deterioration of urban life, where abandoned buildings have become normalized within the urban fabric. I began to explore them when I couldn’t make sense of the mass waste of space and money in a city where so many are struggling to survive. My reaction to them was emotional; they disturbed me. So, I began to use them as visual symbols for the emotional collective, metaphors for unrest.

My explorations are not limited by medium, and in fact I experiment with various media in attempt to confront and portray the emotions they move in me. Somehow in the process of working intimately with them, these buildings became beautiful to me because of their honesty.

With your most recent work, you've expanded that spatial connection from Cairo, a place you're intimate with, to Berlin, a newer locale. What are some differences you encounter in the change of location? Are there seeming universals you could apply ...