The first sketch of my work is not a political choice, but rather a choice made out of love. I fell in love with Egypt while I was there. During my first stay, I discovered the pleasures of oriental-style luxury, evenings spent on the banks of the Nile, music and the smell of the oleanders but, on the other hand, I was suffocating. I decided to focus on the working class area of Gamaleya. I discovered the people, their homes, their working conditions. It was like Zola’s novel Germinal in the late 20th century. Incredibly tough workshops, metal foundries where there were fifteen or so workers all crammed into a tiny space. But, at the same time there was this camaraderie of a kind I’ve rarely come across before. There was I, screaming out my hatred of the whole world, and they were smiling. I found myself among sages, angels and damned souls. These workers have been taken as models by the greatest Egyptian writers, such as Naguib Mahfouz and Albert Cossery. I wanted to show their faces. The faces people laugh at, the faces people despise, the faces of people who have nothing but often have far more than I do, as all I have is my anger urging me to rise up against their poverty. My view of Egypt and her people has not changed since my first trip in 1992. I am still interested in the same people. They are the ones who are important to me, they are the ones I am throwing light upon. I have chosen to sublimate them through a meticulous process of contextualisation and perspective. Each figure, each still life or landscape allows me to secure these choices.
The exhibition is made up of 30 colour and black and white prints, framed:
38 x 38 cm (22) - 100 x 100 cm (5) - 120 x 120 cm (3).