tea at the Pyramid Complex
tea at the recently renovated Sultan Qalawun Complex link
curb at 'Ataba Square
And then there's the tea. Tea is the lifeblood of Egypt. What is important is not just offering and enjoying the tea (when visiting a shop), it is the delivery and pickup. You are asked, "Would you like tea? coffee?", and after a brief discussion as to how much sugar, the shop owner goes out for a moment, comes back in, and within minutes a tray with the drinks appears. An appropriate time later, the tray is picked up.
One afternoon while walking through a VERY old and crowded bazaar area, I say a grown man with a tray going through the street PICKING UP empty glasses (mostly of tea), which had been put out on the edge of different counters and tables. This was a silent, almost invisible act, and because these were single glasses, no trays, I took it to be the afternoon refreshment of the vendors.
This act prompted many questions—Who made the tea, distributed it, and picked up the tea glasses? Was this a standing order, with monthly fees? Did it change daily? How often during the day did this occur?
One of my questions was answered quite by accident as I took a photo of a small shop. I was actually photographing the cats (which could have also featured prominently in my title). When I saw the image later, I noticed the cats were loitering in front of a tiny slot between shops with a sink, shelves with supplies, and someone washing glasses. Aha!
Egypt: Curbs and Tea Runners
Why this title?
I wrote down so many possibilities, but in the end, there were two images that kept coming to mind:
• curbs as obstacles (to me)
•the efficient delivery of tea and coffee
As a person of small stature, some of these curbs came almost up to the bottom of my knees. I am talking about curbs that are around 13.5" high. Just to give you a point of reference, the average riser height in the US today is 7.75".
They became an ongoing consideration in determining how to get from point A to point B. I seriously considered taking a cab just to go from one side of the square (our hotel was in front of) to the other side of the square, because crossing it to get to the Nile River would entail climbing up and down 6 or more curbs (3 on one side of the square, 3 on the other side). Not all curbs were this high, but when they were, I would often walk down the street to find a lower point, possibly a ramp area for wheelchairs, or something to hold onto—like a car or street light. I do not remember the curbs being an issue at other times when I was in Cairo, but perhaps that is because I was a) younger, and/or 2) I was in different parts of the city. In the sections where I had been before, they did not seem quite as high. Also, I have shrunk.
Friday, Jan 18, 2019 6-9pm
through March 10
paintings, drawings, and photographs from my recent trip.
(Nov 2018-Jan 2019):
Evening in Cairo from Al-Azhar Park, oil on cotton, 6x8 $300
The Pillar of Pompey, Alexandria, oil on linen, 8x10 $400
Bank of the Nile from Roda Island, oil on linen, 8x10 $400
Reflecting Palms, Al-Fayyom Oasis, oil on cotton, 6x8 $300
Cairo Tower through the Haze, oil on linen, 7x5 $275
Morning Fog/Smog on the Nile, oil on linen, 5x7 $275
Waiting for Customers, oil on cotton, 6x8 $300
The Waterfalls at Wadi Al-Rayan, oil on linen, 10x8 $400
The Qaitbey Citadel, Alexandria, Egypt, oil on linen, 8x10 SOLD
Nighttime on the Nile, oil on cotton, 6x8 $300
Juxttaposition: Bell Tower and Minaret, oil on canvas, 24x36" $2700
Cairo Cat, oil on linen, 7x5 SOLD
Wikalet Bazar'a, Cairo, Egypt, oil on canvas, 36x24" $2700
Most recent works (March 2019):
Full Moon Over Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt, oil on canvas, 12x12" $500
Pyramids and Sphinx at Night, Cairo, Egypt, oil on canvas, 12x12" $500
Graphite drawings (images not available):
"We Invite You to Come Inside", oil on linen, 7x5 $275
Egyptian Desert Sunrise, behind the Sphinx, oil on canvas, 24x26 $1825
Egyptian Desert Sunrise, next to the Sphinx, oil on canvas, 24x26 $1825
Twilight on the Nile, Luxor, oil on canvas, 24x30 $1600
Nile Reflections, Twilight, oil on linen, 5x7 $275
A Way of Life
Mother and Child