“For a Martyr from Afar”

A Response to Laila Soliman’s No Time for Art

in Contention
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Abstract

This article explores what it means to produce art in times of crisis, contending that activist art has no time for institutional frameworks in ways that present the artwork as unfinished or part of a process as opposed to unprocessed. In particular, it engages with the challenges raised by Laila Soliman’s performance project No Time for Art regarding the question of how to honor those who have lost their lives in the ongoing Egyptian revolution. Accordingly, making use of criticism, poetry, art, and photography, the article experiments both with the need for subjective responsibility in the face of political negligence and with how an accretive creative network of solidarity may be mobilized in keeping with considerations of the sacred entailed by revolutionary martyrdom.

Contributor Notes

Caroline Rooney is a Professor of African and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Kent. Her recent projects include “Imagining the Common Ground: Utopian Thinking and the Overcoming of Resentment and Distrust,” funded by the Research Councils UK as part of the Partnership for Conflict, Crime and Security Research program. Her poetry appears in In Protest: 150 Poems for Human Rights (2013) and Over Land, Over Sea: Poems for Those Seeking Refuge (2015).

Contention

The Multidisciplinary Journal of Social Protest

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