In celebration of Ramadan past and present, different ways of living during the holy month are shown in "Ramadan in Cairo," a photography exhibit hosted by the Saad Zaghloul Cultural Center. Shadowy rooms filled with arabesques are displayed alongside modern concrete apartment blocks; traditional Tannoura dancers contrast with the glittering neon lights of post-iftar Cairo.
The exhibition collects the work of amateur photographers, participants in seven free workshops organized by El Tayeba in collaboration with the Saad Zaghloul Cultural Center. The students walked the streets of Cairo, capturing the places, life, and people of Ramadan.
The course allowed participants to develop their photography skills. As Wafaa Samir, one young artist with several pictures on display, put it, "I feel all of us learned a lot from this experience.”
Each workshop was composed of around 25 participants and taught by professional photographers. "People came with a raw photographic technique. But by the end, most of them were able to take pictures to an almost professional level," said one of the teachers.
Out of a hundred photos submitted by participants, a panel of teachers and organizers chose the displayed photos based on both their artistic beauty and the glimpse they offer into life during Ramadan.
The viewer is drawn into this microcosm of Cairo during the hot month of Ramadan. Photos capture a range of scenes, like children playing in the streets before sunset or attentively learning the principles of Islam in a mosque; an old man, satisfaction in his eyes, breaking the fast with a cup of red tea; and performances, Sufi dancers beautifully captured while spinning. Each piece helps transport the viewer directly to a Cairo street.
The garden concert following the show, featuring the Puzzle Band, was the real treat of the evening. With only guitar, harmonica, and drums, the band held the audience’s attention and the mellow tunes never slid in monotony. The Puzzle Band is one you might choose to play at your daughter's wedding.
The band played a variety of styles including rock and jazz with an oriental twist, softening edgy jazz beats with the flowing sounds of the harmonica. American folk pieces were humorously, but never childishly, reinterpreted in a jovial style that made everyone smile.
The exhibition runs through September 9