In the Shadow of the Pyramids is Laura El-Tantawy’s current project documenting Egypt’s popular uprising. Her Artist Talk yesterday evening at the Green Cardamom Light Gallery was informative and totally engrossing and drew a small crowd of interested audience. Egypt is experiencing a change that is unprecedented in the modern historical context. As an Egyptian and living in the UK, she is determined that her work be seen by Egyptians in Egypt. That is her ‘end game’ to this current project. And a book.
Ultimately, though, she would love to be able to display her powerful and moving photographs in Tahrir Square one day, and invite the people of the revolution to see them at “Ground Zero’ as it were. Liberation Square as it is also known, was the hallowed ground on where the Cairenes gathered in their thousands to over several weeks prior to the ousting of the president. It was also the place where they celebrated with street parties after Mubarak’s resignation.
For me, Egypt has also carved a significant moment in my life.
At 8:45am on 17, November 1997, 58 foreign tourists and 4 Egyptians were brutally massacred by terrorists at the entrance to the Temple of Queen Hapshetsut, Valley of the Queens in Luxor. This was a dark day for Egypt. My parents, aunt and I were with a group, about to enter the Valleys at about 8:30 am led by our tour guide. Usually, the guide would lead the bus driver pass the ticket office and straight to the Valley of the Queens first, being the closer of the two Valleys. That fateful morning, our guide decided to head for the Valley of the Kings instead. Had he stuck to his routine, our bus would have arrived right at the moment when the attack took place. The two Valleys are separated by a hillock. We were fortunate. Not so, for a South American couple who shared our dining table on the Nile boat. They joined another tour group and left earlier that morning.
My discovery tour to Egypt ended abruptly the next day as I was ‘forced’ to fly home via Cairo, ordered by my better half, who read the headline news on the Evening Standard in the London underground. My discovery of Egypt is thus incomplete, and what better way than to make a return to the Land of the Pharoahs, a historical Biblical land to so many, and a nation that is in transition.
Thank you to Laura who’s work peeked my curiosity once again to visit Egypt, and thank you to all those that attended explorenation’s inaugural Artist Talk.
See also here.
In the Shadow of the Pyramids is the current project by photographer Laura El-Tantawy.
I met Laura briefly at the National Gallery cafe to talk about her fund raising efforts through emphas.is a crowd funding website to enable her to complete the final chapter in her documentation of the popular uprising by the ordinary people of Egypt. These events which centred in Cairo, and particularly Tahrir Square was broadcasted all over the world by mainstream news channels and literally shook the leaders of the Arab world off their feet.
Laura’s photographic style is unique, part journalistic, part documentary and part fine art, raw and powerfully emotive, and totally artistic. Trained as a journalist and worked as a newspaper photographer in the USA, she is passionately absorbed to covering the forthcoming elections in a ‘new’ Egypt in October and November.
[Check out Magnum's David Alan Harvey's skype interview with Laura here. DAH's BURN magazine are Laura's media partner on this project and they sponsored her in February to cover the revolution in Egypt. Their continued support now is part of their counted effort to see the project through to print as a book.]
Laura will be giving a talk about her latest project, accompanied with a slide projection of photographs taken before and during the uprising in Egypt. This is a fund raising evening (non-obligatory), which is open to anyone who would like to learn a bit more about the events unfolding in Egypt, her style of photography and her first hand experience on the ground. Your support is most appreciated. Watch the video below for her personal address, and help spread the message. Apologies for the rather short notice of this event, but I’m sure it will be a great evening out!
Laura has indicated that the first 20 RSVPs will receive a special ‘memento’ postcard print from her on the evening!
Green Cardamom Light Gallery, 5a Porchester Place, London W2 2BS
Time : 7:00 to 10:30pm : Free entry
Date : Friday, 30th September 2011
RSVP to : email@example.com or leave a comment below.
(Nearest tube : Marble Arch or Edgware Road)
Laura El-Tantawy is an Egyptian photojournalist & artist based in London. She studied journalism & political science at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia (USA) & started her career as a newspaper photographer with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Sarasota Herald-Tribune (USA). In 2005, she started work on her first book documenting a changing Egypt. As part of the urge to understand the issues, in 2009, she accepted a six-month fellowship at the University of Oxford (UK) to research free speech in Egyptian media.
In 2008 she was nominated and accepted to take part in Reflexions Masterclass, a two-year photography seminar directed by Italian photographer Giorgia Fiorio and French curator Gabriel Bauret. Her work has been published & exhibited in the US, Europe, Asia & the Middle East. She exclusively works on self-initiated projects.
This event is organised by explorenation.net