By Saneela Jawad
Best known for its incredible monumental architecture typified by the pyramids, ancient Egypt undoubtedly reached remarkable high levels in architectural design, construction and engineering that remain some of the greatest structures in human history.
Today, however, the glory of Egypt’s rich cultural heritage has since given way to neglect, disrepair and mismanagement, from botched restorations and vanishing antiquities to poor museum development and lack of protection for Egypt’s treasures.
Visual artist Amr Eid hopes to change the narrative by exploring what Egypt would look like if history had been different, what these landmarks look like if they were well taken care of and possibly inspire people by focusing on the incredible potential of the country’s cultural heritage if they are handled differently.
Eid’s stunning “What if” or “Matha law” series mixes and matches some of the world’s most iconic monuments, defying borders, history and geography to create “an imaginary project about different global landmarks if they were in Egypt, and landmarks from Egypt if they were in other countries.”
“It all started when I saw the Baron Palace – a historic mansion located in Cairo’s Heliopolis neighbourhood, and known for its distinctive, Indian-inspired architecture – in a damaged condition,” said in an interview with Al Arabiya English. “The sight of it in such a state made me wonder how Egypt’s landmarks could look, and how eye-catching they could be, if only more care was paid to their maintenance.”
From placing Cairo University on top of a hill in Tropea Province in Italy and the Stanly Bridge in France to re-imagining the Statue of Liberty in Alexandria and the Big Ben in Heliopolis, the 24-year-old artist’s project was widely shared on social media – a “trigger” that pushed him to continue the project and take it a step further.
The project also captures the subtle intercultural influences between countries and the fluidity of borders in history in an innovative, artistic manner.
“I want to display how our authentic, artistic touch on monuments, ancient buildings and statues would, undoubtedly, make a statement if more attention is paid to them by the government,” Eid said.
Eid, who has not traveled the world physically, used only his imagination and images from the internet to create this captivating image series and visually take his audience around the world by masterfully recreating well known landscapes and monuments in a way that look beyond real and captivating.
He is currently working on the second part of the now famous series adopting the same aesthetic perspective while intertwining aspects of Egyptian culture and traditions to improve his home country’s tourism image abroad.
“I am planning to develop a new project that would be aimed at helping the country’s tourism,” said Eid. “The project would focus more on Egypt and its historic sites. It wouldn’t only be about graphic design … but this still needs a lot of work and thinking.”