Dominique Ellis


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Dominique Ellis
About the author

In the dense fabric of Cairo, my body of artwork focused on the inanimate Cairene sculptures situated in the public squares where I explored the theme of isolation within density. Prior to the January 25th revolution of Egypt, my artistic response to the statues were as though they were captive as prisoners of the city. As I put myself in place of the sculpture, I too became prisoner inside this vessel. However, the January 25th revolution of Egypt changed my perception of Cairene sculptures. The sculptures functioned as witnesses to the historic and monumental changes demanded by the citizens of Egypt. No longer were the people or statues held captive as prisoners when they broke the barrier of fear, but rather demonstrated the promise of a new tomorrow and a removal of an oppressive regime. These bronze and granite statues were defaced with graffiti and anti-government slogans, held banners in support of change, and displayed declarations and manifestos associated with the uprisings. As a visual artist and researcher from Lincoln, Nebraska, I have been living abroad for the past 4.5 years. I served as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco, working with the Moroccan Ministry of Handicrafts. After which, I was awarded a U.S. Fulbright student scholarship for Egypt from 2009-2010. My printmaking research in Cairo concerned a visual and historical understanding of both modern and contemporary Middle Eastern and North African art. My affiliation in Egypt was primarily the American University of Cairo, with Assistant Professor Brian Curling, where I assisted in an introductory printmaking course. My professional goals will bridge western and non-western printmaking and bookmaking techniques. I want to become a professor of printmaking and continue my visual research, particularly, in the Middle East and North Africa. My creative and interdisciplinary focus will build upon my current visual practice in Cairo by exploring the gesture, pose, and position of the human form in relation to space and place. My interest lies in how the human form functions and moves in an urban landscape, how I filter the gestures, movements, rhythms, and architecture of a city, and exploring the parallels between city and sculpture. Starting in the Fall 2011, I will be working towards my M.F.A. in printmaking at Tyler School of Art in Rome, Italy and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In graduate school, my overall focus will be the relationship between art and revolution, how public sculpture is reanimated or destroyed by the people during unrest, and the dialogue between the public and the statues.