“Exploring life on Cairo’s rooftops” is the title of a photography exhibition that ran from 22 to 30 November. Organised by the French Institute in Mounira, Cairo, it was held at the French research institute ‘le Centre d’Etudes et de Documentation Economiques, Juridiques et Sociales’ (CEDEJ) in parallel with the week-long Egyptian-French forum ‘Making the Sustainable City’, which brought together a host of local and international figures concerned with discussing solutions to the challenges faced by Egypt’s cities.
In 30 photographs, the aim of the exhibition was to shed light on the rooftops of Cairo where Egyptians can not only find more affordable housing but also engage in various forms of social and economic practices that often do not capture the view of the general public.
Clémence Curty, affiliated with CEDEJ and one of those behind the exhibition, said: “The idea of the project was to show the diverse urban practices of the city and to make visible segments of the population that are often hidden from the casual observer.
“It was mainly to show people who are ‘hiding’ on roofs, what they are doing, and to make visible people you don’t see every day,” Curty said.
She points out that the project, which she carried out together with PhD student Marie Piessat, was also initially driven by a curiosity about what was going on on top of buildings across Cairo. She says they discovered, apart from dwellers in affordable units, some diverse activity such as rooftop gardening and bars, many of which sold alcoholic drinks away from inquisitive eyes.
Photos courtesy of Egyptian Streets
10 December 2017