I’m now at a turning point in my life in which I am facing major disruptions within my family. As a photographer, I’m thus working on a project called “We are what they remember”, a quest which enables me to explore and share my relationship to memory, to transmission, to identity.
As a first step in this on-going project, I have chosen to dive in the past of my mother’s family as so little was transmitted to us. It is also a way to keep a link, a dialog with her. She is now, at 87, leaving progressively the ordinary life to get closer to her childhood.
This wistful visual path through the places I discovered, in Cairo and Alexandria, this past year, walking in the footsteps of my ancestors in Egypt, the Sednaoui, is also a way to fight nostalgia, leave a trace, understand what touches me, create a dialog between the present and the past. Because history is alive as long as there is someone to remember it.
In a way, I consciously or unconsciously used the fact that those places I wanted to go
to, were very often difficult or impossible to access to create something visual out of those
metaphorically closed doors. Moreover, the lost splendor and the oversight I was faced to
quickly became an allegory of my mother’s memory degradation.
The images of my journey are resonating with family archives, pictures, and films.
There are mainly new, sometimes old, and even mixed in multilayers layouts. They are aimed to be ultimately collected in a book or presented in exhibitions. Or projected on the screen of the dusty abandoned open-air cinema hidden in the heart of Cairo, not far from the hospital and department store once built by the family. They are also a tribute to people
in Egypt who today, are so welcoming and respectful of the name Sednaoui, who are the
guardians of our memory.
Documenting the heritage made me find a part of me which I didn’t know and gave me a new sense of belonging. We are the fruits of a rich, troubled, exiled, mixed family
history. We are what they gave and didn’t give to us, we are what they made, we are what they lost, we are what they are remembered for, we are that they remember.