Through her practice, Guirguis investigates states of displacement, in-betweenness and the politics of place. Using site, text, and recovered histories as the core of each series, she develops projects that engage audiences in a dialogue about power, agency, and social transformation. Her research-based practice is a means to heighten awareness of marginalized and contested histories, in particular, those of women which are often forgotten or erased. She aims to make the invisible work of historically underrecognized women visible once more.
Guirguis cross-pollinates architecture, text, and oral histories creating paintings, sculptures and site-specific installations that reactivate lost narratives. The work problematizes the history of decoration and ornamentation and its relationship with social structures, cultural identity and Women’s agency. The connection between the materials, processes and formal aspects are crucial to the stories’ retelling. These are embedded into each work culminating in a visual code through which viewers can access these histories and, through abstraction, experience a sensory activation of the liminal experience of migration.
Sherin Guirguis (b.Luxor, Egypt, 1974) obtained her MFA in painting from the University of Nevada in 2001 and her BA in art from the College of Creative Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara in 1997. Guirguis’ work has recently been featured in solo museum exhibitions nationally and internationally, including A’Aru//Field of Reeds: Chapter I at Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, HI, and an artist residency with a site-specific installation, A’Aru//Field of Reeds: Chapter II with the Doris Duke Foundation at the Shangri La Museum, Honolulu, HI; Here I Have Returned, The Minnesota Museum of American Art, St Paul, MN; Bint El Nil, Tahrir Cultural Center, American University, Cairo, Egypt; We Must Risk Delight, Official Collateral Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy; Of Thorns and Love, Craft Contemporary, Los Angeles, CA. Guirguis has exhibited site-specific installations at internationally recognized sites, including, Forever Is Now, Art D’Égypte, UNESCO World Heritage Site: Pyramids of Giza, Cairo, Egypt; Desert X Biennial, AlUla, Saudi Arabia; and One I Call, Desert X Biennial, Palm Springs, CA. Notable group exhibitions include Women Defining Women in Contemporary Art of the Middle East and Beyond, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; a public art commission for METRO Los Angeles, Aviation Station, K Line, Los Angeles, CA; Converging Lines: Tracing the Artistic Lineage of the Arab Diaspora in the U.S., Middle East Institute Gallery, Washington, DC; US Expo Pavilion, Dubai 2020, Dubai, UAE; Making Time, Craft Contemporary, Los Angeles, CA.
Guirguis has been awarded several prestigious grants and fellowships, including the Zumberge Diversity and Equity Award 2021, the 2014–2015 City of Los Angeles Individual Artist Fellowship, the 2012 California Community Foundation Visual Artist Fellowship, and the Investing in Artists Grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation. Reviews and features have examined her work in Artforum, Canvas, The New York Times, The Guardian, Brownbook, Canvas, Flash Art, Art LTD, Beautiful/Decay, The Los Angeles Times, and Artweek, among others. She lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles is delighted to announce the acquisition of Sherin Guirguis' Untitled (Bennu). Untitled (Bennu) is part of a series of works inspired by Farīd al-Dīn Aṭṭār’s 12th-century Sufi poem, The Conference of the Birds (Manṭeq al-ṭayr). The artist channels her ancestors, personal experiences, and agency as a woman to draw parallels between Aṭṭār’s story of self-awareness and kinship, and the mythologies of ancient Egypt’s sacred birds. Guirguis transforms designs of centuries-old Egyptian dovecotes (giant earthen towers built to house pigeons) into abstracted avian forms, bringing to light overlooked and silenced voices. The gallery extends its sincere gratitude to Anna Katz, curator, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and the Drawings and Photography Committee for its generous contribution.
Join Sherin Guirguis and Kris Kuramitsu, Senior Curator at Large at The Mistake Room in Los Angeles, for an in-depth exploration of Sherin's practice and her current solo exhibition, A’aru // Field of Reeds: Gathering.
Using site, text, and recovered histories as the core of each series, Egyptian-American artist Sherin Guirguis develops projects that engage audiences in a dialogue about power, agency, and social transformation. Her research-based practice aims to make the often invisible work of historically under-recognized women visible once more, engaging both formal and social concerns by juxtaposing the reductive Western language of minimalist aesthetics with that of Eastern ornamentation. Inspired by the epic Sufi poem "The Conference of the Birds," her solo exhibition presents a new series of mixed media paintings combining gem-toned mineral pigments and 24k gold on meticulously hand-cut paper.
Sherin Guirguis’s exhibition at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles, titled “A’aru // Field of Reeds: Gathering,” is deeply rooted in the 12th-century Sufi poem “The Conference of the Birds.” Guirguis, along with a collective of female artists and activists, explores the geometric forms of old Egyptian dovecotes and translates them into evocative abstractions using ink, gouache, and gold leaf. Her works on paper reflect a connection to previous generations and the solidarity she has found within her creative community.
Sherin Guirguis’s latest body of work has its roots in the 12th-century Sufi poem The Conference of the Birds (Manṭeq al-ṭayr) by Farīd al-Dīn Aṭṭār, which recounts the story group of birds who embark on a journey to find God. During the pandemic, Guirguis and a collective of female and female-identifying artists, writers, and activists would meet regularly to read the work together. For her solo show A’aru // Field of Reeds: Gathering, the Egyptian-born artist uses the story as a jumping-off point for her evocative abstractions based on the geometric forms of old Egyptian dovecotes.
Working in painting, sculpture, installation and architectural engagement, artist Sherin Guirguis practices a hybrid form of object and image constructions that draws equally on personal, emotional gestures and thoughtfully sourced motifs from the outside world. Navigating individual, family, and cultural memory through abstract language and specific narratives, for Guirguis the act of embodying the schemes and energies of the past in evocative visual forms anchors history more indelibly within the present.
During all hours of day and night in the bustling city of Cairo, you'll hear the sound of blaring horns, like cars communicating in a secret language. At the Pyramids of Giza, though, all you'll hear is the wind - a language the ancients were familiar with - and currently, Egyptian-born, L.A.-based artist Sherin Guirguis' sculpture Here I Have Returned (2021), with its two cymbals clanging when the gust is strong.
Based in Los Angeles, Egyptian-American visual artist Sherin Guirguis draws her inspiration from the journeys of women fighters who have left their mark on history. She is taking part in the Forever is Now exhibition at the Giza Pyramids. As usual, she evokes the stories of women from different eras: the goddess Isis, the feminist intellectual Doria Shafik... Sherin Guirguis' feminism is not limited to gender equality, but evokes the right of women to live freely, questioning the relationship between the individual and society.
Sherin Guirguis created the Kholkhal Aliaa installation inspired by a Bedouin anklet. "How do you make art in a place that's so beautiful? The idea was to create a piece that honors the site and honors the beauty and grandeur of this geology and landscape, while also bringing in the people's history and culture, weaving it together so you can engage with the place and its story."
One way in which the architecture of everyday life can be reformatted is through acts of political dissent, which transitions a familiar place into a site of extraordinary significance and enduring cultural relevance. This process is alluded to in Guirguis’s 2013 series Passages // Torroq, which reproduce architectural details from Cairo’s main train station. Untitled (lahzet zaman), (Untitled [moment in time] ), is fashioned after one of the most prominent features of the station, the windows and clock of the corner tower.
With a set of wheels and a decent 4G connection, anyone can come visit these sites, which have been conveniently plotted as Dropped Pins on Google Maps courtesy of the Desert X website. The best work engages the viewer with a dialogue with the land, including Sherin Guirguis’s One I Call, a clay bird refuge with glittery bits of gold in the open roof, nestled in the shadow of a steep cliff in the serene Whitewater Preserve.
At another trailhead further west, near the base of the Whitewater Preserve, the Los Angeles-based Sherin Guirguis has built a domed, earthen sculpture like the pigeon towers popular in Egypt, where she grew up. The towers are typically used to breed the birds for food or sport (and, more rarely, for espionage missions). Her sculpture has niches for birds, but she doesn’t expect any to actually use it; she wants viewers to wonder about its significance.