It’s been a wild ride for the past couple of weeks - first starting off with a few days off in Stockholm and Uppsala, visiting an old friend and enjoying the chill, Swedish nature — and then in Egypt.
Egypt was a wonderful adventure. In the late summer, I was selected to participate in the symposium, giving me a trip to Egypt with 7 fellow artists from Denmark and Egypt.
The purpose with the program facilitated by DEDI (Danish-Egyptian Dialogue Initiative) is to create a dialogue and exchange between Egyptians and Danes.
We started off in Cairo, got a feeling of one another, and a whole lot to see those first couple of days in the big city. Among other things, a bunch of galleries and exhibitions, meeting artists, getting inspired by the contemporary art scene, visiting a comic festival, and getting positively overwhelmed by the variety of places, people and things there.
Barely digesting the first impression of the capital, which only urged hunger for more, we hopped on a train through the magnificent land to Aswan. The beautiful thing about arriving at night is the surprise you’ll get the following morning - my gosh, I was surprised. And serene. It was as if the loud city’s sound had been replaced with a long sound of silence. It was as if I was back at the country side where I grew up and all my inner process could really flourish.
We’d spend the next 8 days at a beautiful hotel by the Nile. Visiting the great temples Philae and Abu Simpel, sailing Lake Nasser at the Aswan Dam - oh, and I even tried out my boat license by cruising the Nile on one of our many trips between cultural sightseeings. We got a thorough impression of the Nubian culture, getting insights in their traditions, crafts and ways of life. I was amazed by the Botanical Island, where one of the workers would give us a tour in the wonders of the garden’s many seeds, flowers and mysteries. All in all, I was just amazed by the open mind and sense of communion among the locals in Aswan and how they shared it with us. Whether it be crafts, coffee making, music, stories or just their time.
It seemed like wherever I went, whomever I met would always encourage me to sit down, take time, and breathe. A few nights into our stay, we began to see thunder, and it was the first storm in 11 years - oddly enough, one of the themes for the symposium was water, and it was equally funny and tragic. It made no harm to us or where we stayed, but given Aswan is not at all used to storm, nor rain, it took quite the time to clean up the day after. There was flooding, and the storm had an effect on the scorpios, that were suddenly to be found in the city. We were a little paranoid, but also just surrendered to the effect of this weather. The day after with no water or electricity was a slow one, and it was nice with some peace and quiet. Everyone carried on with a joyous spirit. I always find it beautiful when we’re being humbled and come to some sort of surrender.
A couple of days after the storm, I met up with a local photographer, Mostafa, and was he good! We had a ton of fun shooting some paintings in the making and try out some of his ideas. We ended up spending the rest of day together along with one of my artist colleagues, partly in dialogue and play with a local family.
I will miss the open heart, mind and home here.
The last couple of days in Egypt, I spent in Cairo. Partly checking out the final touristy things - among the Sphinx and Pyramids, and wow! - partly chasing cheap art supplies and of course fingerrings in Zamalek. Clubbing, checking local markets, attending gallery openings, Mohamed Ali’s Palace, mosques and what not. I was as busy as Cairo itself!
Now, I’ve barely had time to digest this wonderful adventure, as I’m leaving for Costa Rica - but what an adventure. Not only did I get to see so much of the Egyptian art scene, I got new artist friends, that are ever so inspirational. I’m both thrilled and frustrated with the amount of inspiration from this trip - and especially the talents of my colleagues. I wish I had a time pocket to dig into and create everything they inspire me to. I share this with one of them, and she reassured me I have the rest of my life to live out whatever I’m inspired to. Thank you for that.
On that note; better get started.
Lots and lots of light,