t h e p i t t s b u r g h e r
Noureldin Ahmed is an independent filmmaker and visual artist, born and raised in Cairo, Egypt. He studied media design at the faculty of Applied Arts and Sciences at the German University in Cairo.
In his work, Nour questions identity within the urban context, specifically in Cairo, opening up his self-centered pieces to public viewership and interpretation.
Nour is one of the recent recipients of the Self-Organization grant by Mophradat. He currently works as a programmer/co-ordinator for the Short Film Competition at Cairo International Film Festival. In addition, he is an assistant producer.
His first film, "Summertime Dreams," was screened at Ismailia International Film Festival for Shorts and Documentaries in 2019. In 2020 he held his first solo exhibition/performance, A Self-Portrait with a Halo and a Pomegranate.
I started studying art academically at the age of ten. By that time I was already a heavy reader with little to no connection to the outside world. Like Aureliano Babilonia from Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, I only acquired my knowledge from books. By my early teenage years, I was haunted by classical institutional art, I spoke differently, I expressed myself differently; I became the archetypal weird teenager to my peers. In contrast to my relatively confident and vain self as a child, my teenage self was painfully shy and painfully thin.
In my late teens, by the time I started to rebel against the institutional art I had been intoxicated by for years, I developed two habits: destroying my own work, and painting self-portraits almost exclusively.
At first, the fascination—as some would call it—with painting myself was not a fascination with my visage in any way. On the contrary, I have always felt that I was ugly beyond reason. I found in myself a space for exploration. I started to break off the academic methods, and opened up to new forms of art like performance and later filmmaking.
At first my performances were rather chaotic and secretive. I remember for instance drawing dead birds and writing poetry on examination papers and putting them in the street with money so that people would take them, and in doing so, see the drawings and the poems. Writing this and reflecting on my recent work, I find myself interested in both anonymity and self expression, which contradict one another. So, I adapted an age old strategy; I started painting, writing, and performing under pseudonyms. Later, I started working with alter-egos, a technique that helped me slough off specific aspects of myself entirely for the sake of magnifying other aspects. The wide variety of sentiments, and the freedom that followed, has allowed me to experiment with styles, and media, like never before.
I regard my work as classical with a morbid urban deformation. I define myself as a Cairene artist interested in the expression of self within the urban context, but I believe this to be a vague answer. I do think that I, as the creator of my pieces, lack the right to describe them.