About The Work
In The Last Dance series, change is explored through the medium of dance. Multiple images of belly dancers caught in whirling movements make up a kaleidoscopic visual frenzy. While the images are sensual in nature, it is the association of the ‘sexual’ with this art form that is now threatening its survival in Egypt. The slow disappearance of these belly dancers is significant of a new cultural identity that is following political shifts in the Egyptian mindsets. This body of work explores notions of transition and change as Nabil reflects upon an Egypt that is rapidly transforming and acquiring new ideals that he is unfamiliar with. An alien disconnect that has much more to do with the changing landscape than his physical absence, Nabil presents ephemeral imagery that he feels will soon be lost forever.
Born in Egypt in 1972 and based between New York and Paris, Youssef Nabil grew up in a Cairo drenched in the golden age cinema of Hollywood on the Nile: a black and white film world in which he nostalgically recalls the glamour, the ease, the elegance and the melodrama. His photos evoke the deliciously outmoded feel of the photo-novels that accompanied cinema at the time and highlight in each portrait the extraordinary character of his models, distinguished artists, actors, and friends and himself in his series of self-portraits.
Three monographs have been published on Youssef’ work –Sleep in My Arms (Autograph ABP and Michael Stevenson, 2007), I won't let you die (Hatje Cantz, 2008) and most recently, a self-titled monograph Youssef Nabil published by Flammarion (2013). In 2010, the artist known for his work combining photography and painting presented his first film You Never Left, an 8-minute piece with the actors Fanny Ardant and Tahar Rahim. In 2015 he showcased his second film called I Saved My Belly Dancer, a 12-minutes piece featuring Salma Hayek and Tahar Ramin.
The Third Line is a Dubai-based art gallery that represents Contemporary Middle Eastern artists locally, regionally and internationally. The Third Line also hosts non-profit, alternative programmes to increase interest and dialogue in the region.