Becoming Van Leo: A Work in Progress
Curated by Negar Azimi and Karl Bassil
Prince Claus Fund Gallery, Amesterdam
The photographs of Armenian/Egyptian photographer and 2000 Prince Claus Laureate Van Leo (1921-2002) give a unique insight in the cosmopolitan and vibrant society of Cairo in the second half of the 20th century. Among the clients of the photo studio of Van Leo were theatre actors and cabaret dancers. Soon soldiers, strippers, journalists, intellectuals and movie stars followed. Among them were famous singers like And al-Wahhab and Farid al-Atrash, film stars Omar Sharif and Rushdi Abaza and writer Taha Hussein. Van Leo made hundreds -if not close to one thousand- self-portraits, many of them previously not seen. He was one of the most prominent studio photographers of his time. The exhibition "Becoming Van Leo, A Work in Progress" presents classic studio portraits as well as the self portraits. It is also an overview of studio tools, family albums, books and personal letters of Van Leo.
Produced by the Arab Image Foundation, the Prince Claus Fund, and the Amesterdam Fund for the Arts.