Cabaret Crusades: The Secrets Of Karbala

On the final day of the exhibition Wael Shawky: Al Araba Al Madfuna, The Polygon Gallery is pleased to screen the third instalment of Wael Shawky’s film trilogy Cabaret Crusades. The Secrets of Karbala (2015) utilises Murano glass marionettes to explore the origins of the Sunni-Shiite schism, concluding with the capture of Constantinople by Crusaders in 1204. Cabaret Crusades is inspired by Amin Maalouf’s The Crusades Through Arab Eyes (1983), presenting alternative understandings of history and emphasising the presence of bias and myth within historical records.

Wael Shawky studied at the University of Alexandria and the University of Pennsylvania and is the founder of the MASS Alexandria artist residency program. His work has been shown widely in solo presentations, and he has participated in major international exhibitions including the Istanbul Biennial, Sharjah Biennial and documenta (13). Shawky is the recipient of the first Mario Merz Prize and his film trilogy Cabaret Crusades was voted this month as the 7th most important artwork produced in the twenty-first century by The Guardian.

Image: Wael Shawky, Cabaret Crusades: The Secrets of Karbala, 2015, video still (detail), courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery, London.