Monday April 22nd, 2024
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Cairo Photo Week Exhibit Explores the Understated Beauty of Red Bricks

Architectural photographer Nelly El Sharkawy is set on highlighting an underrated element of Cairene construction.

Karim Abdullatif

Cairo Photo Week Exhibit Explores the Understated Beauty of Red Bricks

Often perceived as a source of unpleasant visuals, red bricks are the most common building material in Egypt. Yet, they’ve unfortunately amassed a poor reputation as the sole element representing the country’s ocean of unfinished facades. But that’s down to misuse and a lack of intention rather than the lack of aesthetic potential.


Among a number of highly anticipated and thought provoking exhibitions taking place during the Cairo Photo Week from February 8th to February 18th, ‘Even A Brick Wants To Be Something Else!’ is a solo exhibition by architectural photographer Nelly El Sharkawy which aims to tackle the stigma surrounding bricks.

“Why is it hated if it’s only a building material? Why would people hate building material?” El Sharkawy, who has grown familiar with Egypt’s built environment by conducting countless street photography projects, says. “It’s because a building material shouldn’t be used as a finishing material. It’s not left uncovered because of a conscious design decision.”


The exhibition is set on challenging the common perception of red bricks by displaying examples of their proper use on facades. Acting as a tribute to the brick, the project will offer viewers with still visuals to gaze into its potential beauty, provoking thoughts and raising questions on self-reflection and architectural ideas. What if the material that has become entrenched in the Egyptian psyche for all the wrong reasons is actually used as a source of urban beauty?

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