The Tentmakers of Cairo
The Tentmakers of Cairo, 2015
2 mins 41 secs
Each of the tentmaker's shops opens out onto the street like a cocoon of colour bursting in contradiction to the dust and dirt of the street. The men sit on long benches in the doorway, one foot protruding from underneath a large piece of yellow canvas, a plank of plywood acting as a back rest. Each hunched over, quickly placing accurate stitches into ornate Islamic designs easily found in the mosques and ancient buildings that inhabit the surrounding area.
After 18 days of unrest in early 2011, amidst chants for 'Bread, Freedom and Justice', Hosam, his brother Ekramy, and stitchers Hany and Tarek all find themselves thrown into an unknown and unpredictable world as President Mubarak's 40 year rule is brought to an end. Rejoicing and celebrations for the revolution soon turn to conflict and our small street, a microcosm of Egyptian society, is infiltrated by the propaganda, rumours and paranoia that constantly blares from television sets, radios and mobile phones in each and every shop.
Survival is no longer about the need of the market as a whole, but about each individual. Soon our heroes find themselves pitted against each other, as shops are burnt to the ground, traditions walked away from and poverty becomes more and more real.