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When Her Lighthouse Was Shining

[ 2018 - ONGOING ]


The inauguration of the Suez Canal marked the birth of a new city in a barren location of scarce resources. With the digging of the canal, this uninhabited arid land began its transformation. The flow of ships and passengers, which began with the opening and flourishing of the canal, lead to a rapid growth of the role that this industrious city played. By the first half of the 20th century, Port Said had become a major cosmopolitan city prospering on international trade and tourism. The city’s character as a hub where the far edges of the world met granted it an equal importance to the docks of London. It was a bustling melting pot for a multi-national population. In the midst of the city’s golden era, my grandmother was born.

Along with her family, she left to settle in the capital early in her childhood, yet they maintained regular visits to their hometown. Some of the stories I have heard of this first chapter of her life were of sunsets observed at the lively port, evenings of dancing in casinos, and nostalgic times spent in the family house. With time, they stoped frequenting the city whose glory was likewise slowly fading away. Mourning the death of my grandmother, I wondered about the life she led as a young girl. As I imagined her there, I grew crious about what happened to that vibrant city that she once knew. With this project, I search for traces and remnants of the golden era of this town by unfolding the youth of that girl who later became my grandmother.