Taha Belal’s artistic interventions are labor-intensive, delicate and spectral. His materials retain a roughness and still bear errors: smudges, scratches, dirt and fingerprints on items that, like money, are passed through many hands. He attempts to subvert the glib authority and pervasiveness of common, mass-produced, disposable objects, highlighting their constructedness. It is a destructive formal investigation of the language and images exchanged in our daily life and how they can come to exist and be seen as more than one thing at once.
Currently, Belal is mining the bureaucratic debris from his day job at the family business where he is engulfed in an abundance of papers, tinted glass, plastic laminates, advertising matter, faux wood paneling and sticky, pleather roller chairs under a pervasive whitish blue fluorescent lighting. Drawing from these surroundings he makes works by pushing the accumulation of layers and peeling away at the greasy surfaces to bring into relief the superficiality of these elements and render them, for a moment, ineffable.
Taha Belal has a BFA in Studio Art from Pennsylvania State University, USA (2005) and an MFA from the California College of the Arts, San Fransisco, USA (2008). His work has featured in exhibitions at IVAM, Valencia, Spain; MATHAF – Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha; MKG Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, Germany; Museum for Photography, Braunschweig, Germany; SMAEK Staatliches Museum Ägyptischer Kunst, Munich, Germany and Tartu Art Museum, Tartu, Estonia. He has also exhibited at Haines Gallery, San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, Pro Arts Gallery, Fine Arts Gallery, San Francisco State University, Southern Exposure and the Popular Workshop in San Francisco and Oakland. In Egypt, he has shown his work at Townhouse Gallery in Cairo and Nile Sunset Annex (which Belal, Jenifer Evans and Hady Aboukamar founded). Nile Sunset Annex is a self-funded, independent art space that hosts local and international artist exhibitions and produces publications. Taha Belal lives and works in Cairo.
In 2007 Belal was awarded a Murphy & Cadogan Fellowship through the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery and an MFA Fellow Residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts in 2008. He was nominated for San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s SECA Award in 2010.