The Last Dance #III, Denver 2012
13 archival pigment ink on archival cotton-rag paper
50 x 74.6 cm (each)
Twelve panels capture a whirling dance in time and space. The dancer remains hidden under huge veils of golden fabric that she twirls in wide circular gestures, her bare legs only appearing in one random movement. Despite its hypnotic beauty, this series, The Last Dance 'III, Denver 2012, is tinged with a darker dimension.
The photographer says it evokes the last flapping of a butterfly's wings in a struggle against death. Youssef Nabil's photography is haunted by death and its corollary, the need to immortalise the object of loss. Here, the butterfly is an allegory of belly dancing, which, under duress, despite a centuries-old tradition, is gradually disappearing in Egypt, the artist's country of origin.
Acquired by the Pinault Collection, The Last Dance 'III, Denver 2012 is being presented for the first time at Nabil's 2020 solo show “Once Upon A Dream” at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice.