Marwa Adel is an Egyptian photographer whose focus is on Egyptian women and their restrictions after thirty years of autocratic rule by hard-line Islamist clerics. The possibility of the imposition of Sharia Law has tamped down many artists while inspiring others, such as Adel.
Adel rarely uses men in her monochromatic photographs. Women are the central topic of her work as her photographs tell their stories. Her Muslim women are shown as shadows, repressed by custom, religion, and marriage. While some figures are nude, they are obscured by sepia scrims, half-hidden by ferns and branches, or scrawled upon with calligraphy in her digital photo manipulations. Her art is provocative and imbued with symbolism as it challenges an Egypt that is struggling with its own identity.
Her wedding dress and her veil from her failed marriage also appear in the pictures. Her “Peace” is a 2010 work of photography and computer graphic design which defies cultural bounds of ultraconservative Islam.
Adel taught art at Helwan University. In 2008, she won a grand prize in a photography contest. She has had a solo exhibition on the campus of the American University in Cairo. She has received awards, such as the Golden Prize at the 9th European-Arab festival of photography in Germany in 2012. In 2014, she received a Jury Award at the Sharjah Photography competition.