Workshop and Exhibition – Bearing Witness

Workshop and Exhibition – Bearing Witness


Medrar for Contemporary Art

26 September 2012 - 11 November 2012

Bearing Witness

Through a series of artistic work sessions through five weeks. The workshops were planned as to discuss real stories experienced or witnessed by ordinary people in extraordinary situations and times, as base to produce inspired art projects, by proposing methods to approach the artistic problem, concept, and form, taking into consideration their relation to the community. Through ‘Bearing Witness’ participants produced individual and group projects based on the discussions with contexts relating to the current social, ideological and political shifts.

Bearing Witness: the stories of ordinary people living during extraordinary times is a contemporary art theory and practice project that is based on the methodology of Plexus International’s co-operas.  Dr. Sandro Dernini and a group of international artists founded Plexus to create large-scale collaborative art projects known as co-operas during the 1980s in New York City’s Lower East Side.

The objective of Bearing Witness was to provide an artistic eyewitness account to the extraordinary experiences of ordinary Egyptians living during these extraordinary times.  During extraordinary times, stories tend to be told more sincerely.  Sharing and appreciating such stories helps bridge individual differences by creating a collective consciousness and awareness of the “other.”

The Workshop

A workshop for the production of collaborative multi-disciplinary projects around the concept of bearing witness to stories told by ordinary people living during extraordinary times, based on the methodology of Plexus International’s co-operas. During the three weeks of workshops, investigation and collaborative work was developed in a context of community dialogue, personal encounters, and collective learning using both theory and practice.


Display of art works realized by the participants during the Bearing Witness workshop, most of the works where the first exhibited piece of the artist, featuring films, multimedia installations, photography, sound art performances, paintings and ceramics

Bearing Witness was conceived by artist/educator Arturo Lindsay and is being developed in collaboration with Atlanta and Cairo based artists, educators, technicians and students.


  • Hoda Ragaei
  • Mohamed El Maghraby
  • Ola Saad
  • Nasibian Collective
  • Bahaa Talis
  • Esraa Elfeky
  • Wessam Quraish
  • Yosreya Ghorab

Bearing Witness: the stories of ordinary people living during extraordinary times is one of fifteen projects initiated by the smARTpower program to foster people to people diplomacy worldwide.  This program is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by the Bronx Museum of Art in the US and in collaboration with Medrar for Contemporary Art in Cairo, Egypt. Project manager in Cairo Nagla Samir.