Here I Have Returned
Wood, paint, gold leaf, metal
9.8 m x 3.6 m x 0.61 m
Here I Have Returned is a large-scale, site-specific, sculptural monument and homage to the long history of women who have lifted and supported Egyptian society and culture over time. The sculpture’s form is inspired by that of an ancient sistrum, a sacred musical instrument used by the priestesses of Isis during healing and cleansing rituals and processions. Engraved with pharaonic-inspired patterns and excerpts from a poem by Egyptian poet Doria Shafik, the piece rises from the sand, calling upon us to recall the power and labour of these women.
Visitors will be invited to activate the cymbals on the sculpture creating a sense of call and
response from the present to the past and back. An echo through time, a remembrance of this history and an invitation to connect those narratives to our present. The sculpture will be embedded with the scent of Jasmine oil sourced from local Egyptian farms and celebrating the work of the women who harvest the delicate flowers.
The sculpture is both shelter and monument – a site of interaction with the pyramids, the community, and the visitors from all over the world. The sound and fragrance will act as an ethereal echo of rituals performed here many centuries ago. Serving as both a remembrance of history and an invitation to connect these narratives to the present, the work sets out to make the invisible work of historically under-recognized women visible once more.
Sherin Guirguis (b. 1974, Luxor, Egypt) is an artist who audits the symphony of difference and the complexity present in the politics of place. Using site, text, and recovered histories as the core of each series, she develops projects that engage audiences in a dialogue about power, agency, and social transformation through art. Her research- based practice is a means to heighten the understanding of marginalized and contested histories, in particular those of women. The work engages both formal and social concerns by juxtaposing the reductive Western language of minimalist aesthetics with that of Eastern ornamentation.
Recent solo museum exhibitions include the Craft Contemporary Museum in Los Angeles and the American University in Cairo. Her work was featured in Desert X 2017 and 2020 and has been shown internationally. Guirguis’s artworks are in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Minnesota Museum of American Art, among others.
Currently living in Los Angeles, CA, Guirguis received her BA from the College of Creative Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara and her MFA from the University of Nevada,