Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Aisha Al-Shabrawy | Travel Fashion Fusion

Photo © Aisha Al-Shabrawy-All Rights Reserved
I find it uplifting to stumble on photographic work that comes out of Egypt, the land of my birth, that is colorful, joyous, modern and of good taste. It's a welcome antidote for all the negative news we are deluged about Egypt which is currently neck-deep in economic woes, with its people facing an uncertain future.

Whenever I look out of my flights that are about to land in Cairo,  I never fail to wonder as to why its buildings are all beige...the color of sand. Apart from a few spots of greenery along the Nile river, that's all that the eye can see. Beige upon beige upon beige. Depressing really. The desert's proximity to the capital is culpable, since the frequent easterly winds bring in the khamseen...the sand storms that occasionally fill the air. Add this to the vehicular pollution, and one has a toxic mix of environmental factors that converts brilliant white paint to the dull color of sand in a matter of months.

So it is really an elevating moment for me to see Aisha Al-Shabrawy's colorful and aesthetically tasteful photographs of attractive model(s) wearing various fashionable accessories that are locally produced. It might seem commonplace to some of us used to see such travel-fashion photographs all the time on the pages of various glossy magazines, and on the streets of New York City (as an example), but I know full well how hard it is to produce them in Egypt.

I think possessing a strong color aesthetic/sense is largely innate, but can also be an acquired talent. I might be overstating it, but being exposed to bland colors all one's life ought to dull one's color and aesthetic appreciations. India is well known for its brilliant colors; just take a look at the women's saris and other traditional attire. When I travel to India, I am -as many others- overwhelmed and overpowered by its colors.

Anyway, back to Ms Al-Shabrawy's work. Those images featuring eyewear were shot in Aswan, in the south of Egypt. The rural houses are painted in the blues of Jaipur in Rajasthan and Chefchaouen in Morocco, and their facades are decorated with naif drawings and religious phrases.

Yes, it's uplifting to see these images...and to forget (even for a moment) the drabness of Cairo and of Egypt's main cities. If only there was an enforceable law to paint its buildings in brilliant colors... annually!!!