Egypt is a country that has been photographed a lot, and this largely since the beginning of the 20th century or even since the end of the 19th century. These numerous images have fed the occidental fantasy and we all carry them one way or another engraved in our spirits.
Here, in this exhibition, no signs of exoticism or orientalism. These young photographers, seven women and nine men aged from 20 to 30, allow us to see “beyond appearances”. What they allow us to see, through their “hakawi”, their tales, is an extremely contemporary Egypt that depicts the everyday life of its women and men, made of hopes and struggles.
For two months, Diane Augier and myself got to meet them, first studying more than five hundred dossiers that had been sent to us. Forty interviews allowed us to come up with this selection and to present all these photographic works. The high number of young female photographers who came presenting their work was a pleasant surprise and seems to us worth mentioning. Hakawi is a mosaic of photographic tales, telling us about a very contemporary Egypt, detailing the country and its society without compromise and with great implication. Despite being an environment far from being suitable for the practice of documentary photography, where practicing and living it still is a challenge, these young photographers show with Hakawi how much this can be possible and of high quality. This is a message of hope they are sending us and that demands respect. These women and men have decided not to give up and to keep telling their stories and their country.
It is important to leave room for this new emerging generation of photographers. They tell and document where and how they live. It is a movement that has been emerging for several years on the African continent, in diverse countries, and that is essential to support. Hakawi goes in this direction.
Text written for the exhibition
"Hakawi - Contemporary Egyptian Tales"
by Diane Augier and Bruno Boudjelal, curators.
• Mai Al Shazly • Roger Anis • Mohamed Anwar • Fathi Hawas • Eman Helal • Karim El Hayawan • Ebrahim El Moly • Nada Elissa • Hesham Elsherif • Fatma Fahmy • Ahmed Gaber • Hana Gamal • Amina Kadous • Heba Khamis • Mohamed Mahdy • Fares Zaitoon •