Her sun-drenched grin gleams across the mountains of the Sinai desert as she poses for the camera. No, she is not Catherine; but her unbreakable spirit embodies the presence of a community whose laws may not be written down, but are respected with admiration. And that, in fact, is Catherine.
Dazzled by its communities, photographer Rehab Eldalil embarked on a 3-year-long project to help preserve the traditions and heritage of Saint Catherine against oblivion and rejection. Her photo series ‘Catherine Exists’ could not have come at a better time: as the latest news taint Sinai communities with references to violence and kidnappings, her project shows a humane sphere that many refuse to see.
“It is frustrating when you ask people if they know Saint Catherine and they think they are drug-dealers or kidnappers,” she tells BarakaBits. Aiming to shed light on the non-commercial areas beyond Mount Moses, she raises funds through the commercialization of the pictures to create an art and education center for the community in 2015.
“Bedouin tribes are not appreciated either by the public or the government, so they don’t have medical care, education, or facilities to develop their activities,” says Eldalil. Her exhibition, currently showing at AGORA in Alexandria, will be open until 5 September, and a second exhibition in Cairo is scheduled by the end of September, managed by Al-Qomra.