FOCUS: Wael Shawky

Image credit: Wael Shawky Cabaret Crusades II: The Path to Cairo, 2012 High-definition video, color, and sound, with English subtitles; 1 hour, 57 seconds © Wael Shawky, Courtesy Lisson Gallery


April 02, 2021 to July 25, 2021


Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth View map
3200 Darnell Street,
Fort Worth, TX, 76107

Additional Information


Wael Shawky who is based in Alexandria, Egypt, and Philadelphia, presents a film from his ambitious trilogy Cabaret Crusades, along with new and related drawings and sculpture. In this exhibition, as with much of his work, the artist explores the ambiguities between history and myth in a multimedia presentation in order to challenge the authority of history.

Some of the themes he investigates are the history of the Arab peninsula (The Gulf Project), medieval hostilities between Christians and Muslims (Cabaret Crusades), and the recounting of poetic myths (Al Araba Al Madfuna).

Shawky’s projects combine artistic imagination and purportedly accurate facts. This mix of truth and fiction raises questions about the role of history—and the biases held by those writing it—in forming longstanding national identities and geographies. For the Cabaret Crusades films, the scripts are based on the work of ancient Arab historians and geographers, such as Ibn al-Qalanisi, Ibn Jubayr, and Ibn al-Athir.

However, the scripts are acted out by fanciful, childlike marionettes to foil the serious nature and horrors of the original narratives. Shawky’s themes of religious and geographical antagonism still have much relevance today, leading the work to resonate equally with the present and the past. FOCUS: Wael Shawky will be the artist’s first exhibition in the southwestern United States.

General admission, includes special exhibition:
$16 adults age 18 and older
$12 for seniors (age 60+), active/retired military personnel and first responders with ID
$10 for students with ID
Free for youth under 18
The museum offers half-price tickets on Sundays and free admission on Fridays.

Museum gallery hours:
Tue–Sun 10am–5pm
Fri 10am–8pm
Closed Mondays and on Independence Day