The chaos of Cairo’s narrow streets and alleyways is beyond the bonds of disregard. It’s a trait as old as this ancient city. The buildings’ time stamped bricks, shattered balcony tiles and color scheme are all an offspring of different eras - an amalgamation of civilizations dating thousands of years. The rooftops of those historical masterpieces are changing in time. One thing remains immune to the evolution of time that occurs on those roofs are the pigeon lofts, named GHEYYA* a constant scene that stands tall against the currents of change. Each loft holds a unique look that is subjective to the characteristics of whoever built it. Its looks is divergent, like the distinctiveness of the fingerprints of the millions of people that may look the same, yet never really are, and so are those lofts.
Cairo’s wooden pigeon lofts are inspirational beyond measures, starting with their beautiful and chaotic construction, variable sizes and unique chasms of the wooden frontage that allow the flow of air in, yet never the cold. Colors that are leftover scraps of old projects and cloths join in harmony.
At the heart of these lofts – Gheyya – lies a unique hobby; homing pigeons. As the sun sets, an everyday ritual begins. Flocks of pigeons, who by time become family to the pigeoneer, roam the skies of the city following the waving flags home.
Along side the pigeons’ fancier is always a kite runner. Two magnificent yet different hobbies that are always in sync. Those glorious kites, all handmade with scraps of colored paper, collaged together with home-made glue, are simple productions of those humble homes, a production that is simplified to the use of water and starch. These traditions hold a broader scheme than fathomable. A study of the variance that does not exclude the pigeons, their breeds and their strikingly diverse design of eyes.
The collection orchestrates the integration of all those elements, the Gheyya, the pigeons, their eyes and the paper kite, and complements it with the finest of fabrics and tailoring. Techniques such as ruffles and pleats can be seen on few pieces along with feathers, imitating the movement of the pigeon wings. Handmade embroidery and beadwork mirrors the handmade nature of the Gheyya and the paper kite. All comes with a variety of prints that embodies the essence of this unique cultural phenomena.
The magical potion of life simplified in our desire to roam freely but always have a home is represented in the flag flying and the kite-running that accompany this hobby, all of which are an endless field of inspiration to art that holds the same freedom of soul. An elegant chaos of a place and its population…
A chaos that cannot be duplicated… A stamp of originality…
*GHEYA: A name given to the pigeon lofts, in Egypt, that originally means “Hobby”. Depicting the game behind those lofts, which is flag-flying.