Cairo Habibis +
It all started with the will to transform departure into something playfully documentary. Having lived in Egypt for five years in a row, I knew the country and how wonderfully kitsh it could be. I began taking staged portraits of the few people who paved the way to my life in Cairo. The exhibition was to disappear. I had made a unique copy of each portrait, everything was to remain in Egypt, as if leaving meant alo leaving a piece of me behind. Preogressively, the day of the opening the picture disapeared and only the objects remained.
The series follow a chronological order with three main periods represented by colors. Loving Denial then Passion and Aftermath. The idea to use an effect when shooting was a way to play with the theme and let the private sphere appear. I did not want a perfectly clear image, it was not the point. I was looking for a blurred representation between photography and drawing.
Short captions come as stories to give a glimpse of each character’s world.
The series is printed on canvas sheet (bâche), a plastic material often used to carry aliments in Egypt, and then simply displayed on wooden frames (chassis). On such a material, image is bond to disappear after a while. Each portrait is shown alongside an object present in the picture (pile of books, necklace, plant...).
Who seems like a glimpse of all that is familiar yet you never knew
There is a beauty that never fades.
Hala and Leïla, 2010
Who reminds you of the family tree you lost
Sometimes exile is something you inherit.
Who is this ordinary man who resisted the power in place and selflessly became extraordinary. Who did you film for over two years and opened you up to the heart of his story and History.
Who is this free spirited leftish painter, who did not paint me in the end.One of my victims he says.
Who is this soft and humble man who wakes up to serve you coffee and starts the day by reciting poems.
Sometimes you never forget someone you hardly knew.