Raafat Ishak was born in Cairo, Egypt in 1967 and arrived in Melbourne 1982. Working across painting, sculpture, installation and site-specific drawing, Raafat’s practice is informed by the history of painting and architecture. Raafat’s practice is generated through ubiquitous acts of research, experimentation, withdrawal, exclusion and fatigue. While self consciously embroiled in and submitting to the canonical historical impetus of early Twentieth Century modernism and the obscene undertones of pagan desert practices, Raafat’s meditation on the place of and logic for painting is premeditated on speculations on the complicity of the apathetic gesture in negotiating a troubled and grieving world. Raafat’s work is held in many significant public and private collections, he is a founding member of Ocular Lab Inc and is represented by Sutton Gallery, Melbourne. Raafat is currently head of Painting at the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne.
Ezz Monem (born Mohamed Ezzeldin M. Abdelmonem; 1985) is a photo-based artist from Egypt who lives and works in Melbourne, Australia. He uses photography to explore the pluralism of reality, playing with sensations of ambivalence and conflict, and giving visual form to the multiplicity of identity in places, people, and objects. He often sources images from found photographs, fiction films, videos and the internet, utilising the mechanical reproduction capabilities of the camera along with various darkroom techniques to transform them into photographic works and alternate archives. Through the repurposing of images, Monem makes autoethnographic works drawing on his background growing up in Egypt and his experience migrating to Australia. Monem graduated from the Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University and worked as a software engineer, but his explorations in visual arts began years earlier. His work has been shown in exhibitions in Egypt, Australia and various other countries in Europe and the Middle East where he has received numerous awards. Monem recently completed a Master of Contemporary Art at the VCA, University of Melbourne. Ezz Monem is represented by THIS IS NO FANTASY gallery and is an artist in residence at Gertrude Contemporary.