Omar Kholeif (EGYPT/UK)


Syndrome of a Decade – Omar Kholeif about his selection for the ikono On Air festival

Syndrome of a Decade presents a short survey of video work symptomatic of a post-millennial visual language. Produced over the course of the last decade, the artists herein work across various art forms, using appropriation – of media, of cultural forms, and public imagination to create artworks, which collectively speak to the artistic concerns of our time.

The Artists

Jeremy Bailey and Derek Piotr – Colossus – 2012

Jamie George – Throwing Up Pulling Down – 2013

Ali Cherri – Gazing at the Catastrophe – 2013

Richard Whitby – A Time to Love and a Time to Die – 2012

Nick Hornby – An Arch Never Sleeps – 2011

Sophia Al Maria and Fatima Al Qadiri – How Can I Resist U – 2011

Adham Faramawy – Liquid Sunset

Matthew Noel-Tod – Castle 3.0 – 2011

Semiconductor – 20Hz – 2011

Jeroen Elsinga – Springtime – 2011

Katia Kameli – Untitled – 2011

Tala Madani – Underman – 2009

Uriel Orlow – Yellow Limbo – 2010/2011

Curator’s bio

Omar Kholeif (EGYPT/UK) is a curator, writer and editor. His writing appears in The Guardian, Art Monthly, Wired, Film International, Frieze and Scope to name but a few, as well as numerous catalogue and book contributions. Omar holds degrees from the University of Glasgow, Screen Academy Scotland, and The Royal College of Art, London.

Most recently Kholeif was Curator at FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), Liverpool, the UK’s centre for the support, commission and exhibition of artist film, video and new media, where he oversaw a program of exhibitions, residencies, publications and public programs. Kholeif is now a Curator at Cornerhouse, Manchester’s international art and film organisation, as well as HOME – one of the UK’s new defining cross art form centres, opening in 2015.

He is founding Director of the UK’s Arab Film Festival and Artistic Director of the Safar Film Festival at the ICA, London and the Arab British Centre, London. Formerly, he was a curator for Abandon Normal Devices and the Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art.

A specialist in contemporary artist film and video and emerging technology, his work also boasts a specialist focus on contemporary cultural practice within the broader intersections of North Africa and the Middle East. Kholeif is Senior Editor for publishing, the leading critical forum for visual culture in North Africa and the Middle East. He was also a co-founding editor of Portal 9: Stories and Critical Writing About the City — a Beirut based semi-annual focusing on urbanism and architecture.

Kholeif has curated projects, which have occurred at the Whitechapel Gallery, London; The International Film Festival Rotterdam; ICA, London; ‘Beirut’ in Cairo, Rhizome, New York; Tate Modern, London; Arnolfini, Bristol and Art Dubai, to name but a few. Kholeif currently leads and curates the program at The White Building, London’s centre for art and technology. Omar is a Churchill Fellow, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a juror for the 2013 Film London Jarman Award.


- Omar Kholeif’s website:
- Omar Kholeif at The Guardian

Omar Kholeif’s most recent books include, Vision, Memory and Media (Liverpool University Press 2010), Far and Wide: Nam June Paik (Leonardo 2013) and You Are Here: Looking at Art after the Internet (Cornerhouse Books, 2014).

Image: still from Katia Kameli – Untitled – 2011