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“For a Martyr from Afar”

A Response to Laila Soliman’s No Time for Art

Caroline Rooney


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.