60 Rue Menasce, Alexandria, Ahmed Zaky Abushady’s Egyptian Home and Headquarters of The Bee Kingdom League, circa 1937. Photo courtesy the Abushady Archive.
Forthcoming in Bee World, Vol.91, no.3 (Sept 2014) published by the International Bee Research Association (IBRA):
Blazing the Trail:
A.Z. Abushady and The Apis Club
A Z Abushady was the founder of the Apis Club at Benson in Oxfordshire. He was the first editor of its journal which was first published in June 1919. That journal is this journal, Bee World. Here, from a manuscript in progress, his granddaughter gives some insight into the life of this interesting man.
The Bee Kingdom archive (aka The Abushâdy Archive) includes the private papers and correspondence of Dr. A.Z. Abushady, examples of his scientific and literary publications, books from his personal library, illustrations, diagrams and patents for beekeeping inventions, published and unpublished poems, artworks by artists in his circle, manuscripts, radio addresses, librettos, ephemera, and photographs. Abushady was drawn to innovative gadgets like the handheld Kodak camera, and many of these photographs are 'snaps' taken by colleagues, family members, and Abushady himself to document meetings among poets and writers, or his progress in the laboratory and apiaries.
These materials were in turn preserved by Abushady's three children, Safeya, Ramzy, and Hoda, who strove to keep their father's legacy intact in the face of wars, displacement and death. My task has been to gather the pieces from each of their collections and organize them into one unified archive.
My ultimate goal is to digitize The Abushâdy Archive and make it accessible to historians and scholars. The first step was to secure and organize the physical archive. With support from contributors, I was able to bring all these materials together in one place, in the archive's current home in Brooklyn, NY, and to purchase archival storage boxes and sleeves to house them. Thanks to everyone who has supported this 3-year process.
2014 Annual Meeting - Middle East Studies Association
November 22-25, 2014 Marriott Wardman Park Hotel Washington, DC
The Archive: Collections and Counter-Collections
Panel Sponsor: Middle East Librarians Association (MELA)
Organizer: VJ Um Amel
Chair: Robin Dougherty
Discussant: Khaled Fahmy
In the contemporary world, there is an archival impulse at work that represents something palpable--an opportunity to provide a counter-collection, standing against the monumental history of the state. Such an impulse has resulted in new public archives, individual projects, digital archives (including digitization of old manuscripts, as well as collecting digitally-born information), fictitious archival projects, and collections of urban histories. This panel critiques historical information on the contemporary Middle East by engaging with independent archival projects that collect information currently under siege, in real time and place, as cultures change and are lost in conflict. Recent scholarship has taken the subject of the archive and investigated it as a cultural object in and of itself. From the Journal of Visual Culture to the Arab Studies Journal, both academic journals have dedicated their most recent issue on the archive. As Timothy Mitchell explains in Colonising Egypt, the practice of science and systems of ordering national standards are modern projects that enable governments to maintain discipline and surveillance. A cog in the colonial project, the science of documenting every political act reflected a "tendency of disciplinary mechanisms," as Michel Foucault has called these modern strategies of control "not to expect and dissipate as before, but to infiltrate, and colonise." Participants in the panel will discuss logic behind independent archives. How might they be engaging with the public and public institutions? Or how research that draws from the press and cultural ephemera rather than state documents and "official" archives tell a slightly different version of the story of modernism in twentieth century Egypt, for example. This panel will shed light on alternative appropriations of 'the archive' as a transformative site of knowledge production.
"The Bee Kingdom: An Accidental Archive." Presenter: Joy Amina Garnett
"A Sand Castle in the Tide: Qatar's Primary Sources." Presenter: Tammi Moe
"Archives of the Palestinian National Movement: A Battle Over the Production of History." Presenter: Hana Sleiman
"UMAM Documentation and Research." Presenter: Kelly Stedem
"Archivisme is a local disease." Presenter: Nadia von Maltzahn
Figures and Sphinx, Gizeh, c.1945. Courtesy the Abushady Archive. Presented in the paper "Joy Garnett: Memory Loss: Excavating the Abushady Family Archive."
Radical Archives Conference at NYU, April 11-12, 2014
Organized around the notion of archiving as a radical practice, by which we mean: archives of radical politics and practices; archives that are radical in form or function; moments or contexts in which archiving in itself becomes a radical act; and considerations of how archives can be active in the present, as well as documents of the past and scripts for the future.
With artists Joy Garnett and Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Michelle Wong on her research at Asia Art Archive and Ian Alden Russell on his work with the Museum of Innocence in Istanbul. Moderated by Steffani Jemison. Saturday 4/12, 4:45-6:00 pm
RadicalArchives.net is an online companion to the April 2014 conference at NYU, organized by Mariam Ghani and Chitra Ganesh of Index of the Disappeared and presented by NYU's Asian/Pacific/American Institute as part of their 2013-14 residency. The conference is co-sponsored by NYU's History Department, Moving Image Archive Program, and Archives and Public History Program, along with the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, the Asia Art Archive in America, and media partner Creative Time Reports. The conference website is built to grow over time and serve as a resource for teaching, research and networking.
Dr. Abushady and Annie (with Fahmy) in Benson, Oxfordshire (ca.1922). Photo courtesy of David and Peggy Sidebottom, Toronto, ONT and the Abushady Archive.
Piss & Vinegar (art and ferment) is a project by Joy Garnett for FOODshed, an exhibition curated by Amy Lipton at Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY - June 7-July 27, 2014
Piss & Vinegar (art and ferment) is an installation of artworks and foodworks that reflect the pioneering DIY industriousness of the artist’s maternal grandparents: Egyptian poet and beekeeper Dr. Ahmed Zaky Abushady and his English wife Annie (née Bamford). As steward of their archive, Garnett produces works that reflect its compelling intertwining narratives. The installation for FOODshed at Smack Mellon includes two limited edition prints based on images drawn from the archive; a batch of Garnett’s bottled home-fermented red wine vinegar, labeled with an adaptation of Dr. Abushady’s logo; and photo-documentation of both the Abushady’s apiaries and Garnett’s own DIY vinegar-making process.
Artists Probe Urban Agriculture, by Allison Meier in Hyperallergic on July 1, 2014
Joy Garnett, “Piss & Vinegar (art and ferment)” installation, based on her grandparents’ beekeeping, along with her own home fermenting (photo by the author for Hyperallergic)
Dr. A.Z. Abushady (1892-1955) was an influential Egyptian poet and scientist who lived and worked in England and Egypt. A physician, bacteriologist, beekeeper, inventor, litterateur and publisher of an array of scientific, cross-cultural and poetry journals, Abushady was an indefatigable builder of libraries and institutions. His wife Annie was an independent-minded globetrotter and self-described freemason. She came from a family of Stalybridge cotton weavers descended from Samuel Bamford, the renowned 19th-century labor organizer and author of Passages in the Life of a Radical. Together, Annie and Zaky introduced innovations to agricultural and beekeeping practices in England (1919-1922) and in Egypt (1922-1946). As a team they were full of piss and vinegar.
In 1919, Dr. Abushady founded a bee research institute called The Apis Club in Benson, Oxfordshire, with an apiary of 600 hives, and launched a scientific journal, Bee World, which continues publication to this day. After returning to Egypt, he established its Egyptian counterpart, The Bee Kingdom League and its bilingual journal, The Bee Kingdom (Al-Mamlaka al-Nuhal), printed and headquartered in Alexandria.
A heady mix of nature poetry, political idealism and Utopian visions fueled Annie’s and Zaky’s thinking. At the apiary in Benson, they implemented principles of the 19th and early 20th century English Co-operative Movement, exporting them to Egypt when they relocated there in 1922. These are the same principles of agricultural and economic co-operation that provide the foundation for co-ops around the world today. “Piss & Vinegar” celebrates the temerity, ingenuity, and perseverance—qualities inherent to DIY undertakings—of the Abushady’s prescient implementation of standardized practices and co-operative principles in their day.
Piss & Vinegar at Smack Mellon: Installation Shots
FOODshed images on Facebook
Artist homepage: http://joygarnett.com
Related articles (PDFs):
Digitizing a Beloved Egyptian Scholar’s Archive, by Mostafa Heddaya. December 19, 2013: Download GARNETT-Hyperallergic-2013
AZ Abushady: Revolutionary Egyptian Poet, Feminist, Beekeeper, and More, by M. Lynx Qualey. August 26, 2013: Download GARNETT-Arabic Literature 2013
Kitchen Studio: A Recipe For Disaster, by Nicole J. Caruth. Summer 2011: Download GARNETT-C-Magazine-2011
Exhibition catalogue, With Food in Mind, by Nicole J. Caruth. Center for Book Arts, New York, April 15–June 25, 2011: Download entry - With Food In Mind catalogue
Edham the Orientalist (from the series “Tracing the Covers of Nonexistent Books”), 2013. Oil on birch panel. 16 x 12 inches. Based on the cover of Sources of Islamic history and other texts, by Ismail Ahmed Edham. Banned book (ca.1935) re-issued in 2009. Cover image source.
Garnett's series 'Edham the Atheist' was produced for The Wayland Rudd Collection, a collaborative project and traveling exhibition organized by Yevgeniy Fiks that focuses on the representation of Africans and African-Americans in Soviet visual culture. A point of departure for this project is Fiks’ collection of over 200 Soviet images (paintings, movie stills, posters, graphics, etc.) of Africans and African-Americans spanning from the 1920s to the 1980s. The exhibition premiered at Winkleman Gallery, NY, January-February 2014, and travelled to First Floor Gallery Harare, Zimbabwe in June 2014. A book will be produced in conjunction with this project.
'The Wayland Rudd Collection' at Winkleman Gallery, Holland Cotter, The New York Times, Art in Review: Friday February 6, 2014:
Joy Garnett documents the short, elusive, embattled life of Ismail Ahmed Edham (1911-1940), an Egyptian writer (and distant relative of the artist) [sic] who claimed to have been educated in Russia.
Edham the Atheist, installation view, “The Wayland Rudd Collection,” a project by Yevgeniy Fiks. Photography by Etienne Frossard.
Joy Garnett: EDHAM the ATHEIST (2013 - 2014)
The works presented in “Edham the Atheist” draw on the painstakingly constructed identity of Ismail Ahmed Edham (1911-1940), an Alexandrian Egyptian with literary and scholarly aspirations. Edham flaunted a long list of academic credentials he supposedly attained while pursuing advanced degrees in the Soviet Union. However, it has been suggested by some that Edham never left Egypt.
In Egypt, if Edham is remembered at all it is for his polemical treatise Why am I an Atheist? (Limadha ana mulhid?),1 which was printed and published in 1937 by The Cooperation Press, Garnett's grandfather's imprint on the rue de France in Alexandria. In this tract, Edham explains how he came to form a group in Istanbul called The Eastern Association for the Advancement of Atheism, "a kind of moderate movement spreading free thought and atheist mission work." By his own account, in 1931 when the movement failed, Edham left Turkey for Russia to study mathematics and theoretical physics, returning to Egypt in 1934. Three years later, the publication of Why am I an Atheist? would be met with outrage, placing Edham in the spotlight. In July 1940, Edham’s corpse was found floating in the Mediterranean Sea off Alexandria's Gleem beach, a suicide note pinned inside his coat pocket. He was 29 years old.
This installation assembles a selection of photographed pages from Edham’s infamous tract, and from the biography he wrote of Garnett's grandfather, Abushâdy the Poet: a critical study.2 Also included is a painting of the cover of one of Edham’s banned books bearing his portrait, and which starts the series, “Tracing the Covers of Nonexistent Books.”
Garnett became aware of the existence of “Dr. I.A. Edham” when she discovered Abushâdy the Poet in the Harvard Library. It is one of two biographies of Abushâdy written in English. The then-twenty-five-year-old Edham's credentials are displayed on the cover:
D.Litt. (Hon), Ph.D., Sc.D. (Moscow), Vice-President of the Russian Soviet Institute for Islamic Studies, Member of the Russian Soviet Academy for Science, Formerly Professor of High Mathematics, University of St. Petersburg, Professor of Islamic History at the College of History, Stamboul
An impressive list of publications authored by Edham appears in the addendum:
- Life of the Prophet (in German);
- History of Islam (3 volumes, in Turkish);
- Mathematics and Physics (2 volumes in German and Russian);
- Theory of Relativity (3 volumes in German and Russian).
Many years later, the esteemed Leiden Orientalist, G.H.A Juynboll, felt compelled to shed light on Edham's accomplishments. In an article published in the Journal of Arabic Literature,3 Juynboll notes: "It could be established that Adham never got any doctorate, never became a member of the Academy of Sciences, never published one book or article in either Russian, French or German, never wrote his two-volume work in Turkish, entitled Islam Tarihi, never made friends with the Russian Orientalist Barthold, who had already died in 1930, one year before Adham claims to have gone to Russia, and never met with favourable criticism from the Russian Orientalist Kazimirsky, because there was no such person....After the publication of his Limadha ana mulhid? Adham became known as the 'atheist who spoke his mind candidly.'...Adham's outspokenness is, in our opinion, his most important feature."
Selections from Joy Garnett: Edham the Atheist. Cooperation Press, Alexandria, Egypt, 1937. 2013-14, Inkjet prints, dimensions variable. More info. Image courtesy the Abushady Archive.
1. Edham, I.A., Why am I an Atheist? (Limadha ana mulhid?), Alexandria, Cooperation Press, 1937.
2. Edham, I.A., Abushâdy the poet, a critical study. Leipzig, G. Fischer, 1936.
3. Juynboll, G.H.A. 1972. "Ismail Ahmad Adham (1911-1940), the Atheist." Journal of Arabic Literature. 3: 54-71.
A.Z. Abushady routinely commissioned illustrations from local artists for his numerous publications on poetry, literary criticism, agriculture, bee science, and politics. The logo for the Alexandria-based Bee Kingdom League (BKL) and its monthly organ The Bee Kingdom was created by illustrator Paul Beer. Beer's illustration of a Queen Bee uniting the two hemispheres of the globe forms the masthead of the journal, the letterhead on BKL stationary, a logo on stickers, pins, medallions, and tie clips. I adapted his drawing for the splash page of TheBeeKingdom.com and the labels I made for bottles of The Bee Kingdom Red Wine Vinegar 'Xtra'.
Following are some images of the various uses and adaptations of Paul Beer's illustration, 1930-2014:
Cover of The Bee Kingdom: A Monthly Review of Modern Bee Culture, published in Egypt. Special issue: "Conference & Show Number", Vol.2, no.12 (December 1931).
Note the signature "PAUL BEER" under the flowers on the left.
Paul Beer's 1929 sketch of Abushady (probably in Cairo)
Reverse: "Drawing by Paul Beer, al-Nimsawi ('the Austrian')...1929"
The Bee Kingdom League writing pad: "International Beekeeping Federation."
The Bee Kingdom pin. Gold-plated and inlaid with blue vitrious enamel. Made in Egypt ca.1930s-1940s.
The Bee Kingdom medallion. Bronze? silverplate? inlaid with 2-colors of blue vitrious enamel. Made in England by Mappin & Webb, Ltd.
Closer: The Bee Kingdom medallion. Bronze? silverplate? inlaid with 2-colors of blue vitrious enamel. Made in England by Mappin & Webb, Ltd.
The Bee Kingdom sticker. Origin unknown.
The Bee Kingdom logo adaptation, Joy Garnett, 2012.
Thinking about logos and labels for bottling The Bee Kingdom Red Wine Vinegar.
Logo adaptation for 12oz bottle.
Hoda Abushady, Giza (ca.1945)
HODA GARNETT (née ABUSHADY)
1927 - 2011
Hoda Garnett, nee Abushady, age 84 of East Islip, L.I. passed away on October 13, 2011. Born on October 2, 1927 in Alexandria, Egypt, Hoda was the youngest of three children born to Anna (nee Bamford) and Dr. Ahmed Zaki Abushady, renowned poet, publisher, scientist and professor of medicine at the University of Alexandria. In 1946 the Abushady's emigrated from Egypt to the United States, arriving by ship in New York Harbor in April of that year. Hoda was a photographer by vocation. She became a news photographer while serving in the U.S. Navy (1952-1956), the first native-born Egyptian to become a WAVE. A long-time member of the Professional Photographers of America, Hoda's work garnered many awards and was widely published, appearing in LIFE magazine and elsewhere. Hoda was a world traveler and a prolific artist. Living and raising a family for many years on Long Island's South Shore, she was drawn to documenting the landscapes of her locale: shore lines, light houses, bridges, night skies, snow-covered ponds, birches in bloom, children at the beach. Hoda had a keen eye for detail, a documentarian's compulsion to record and a great appreciation for the beauty found in the everyday. Surviving her is her husband of 55 years, Dr. Merrill Garnett, a daughter and a son: Joy of Brooklyn, NY and Wade of East Islip, NY. She also leaves her sister, Safeya Abushady of Alexandria, VA, two grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. Reposing at the Fredrick J. Chapey & Sons East Islip Funeral Home, 200 East Main Street (1/2 mile west of the S.S. Parkway, Exit 45W). Visiting Sunday 1:00-5:00 PM. The family will honor and celebrate Hoda's life with words of remembrance on Sunday at 2:00 PM at the Funeral Home. Private interment Monday at the Pinelawn Memorial Park Cemetery.
Published in Newsday on Oct. 15, 2011
Hoda Garnett's website