“Come I want to show you something,” Abdul said while we got out of the car. Walking up the hill towards a pile of stones that must have been a house a long time ago, I was wondering what there was to see.
When we came closer I saw a motorcycle and a man sitting not far away – a sign of life.
— and turning the corner, a tall man in a white long gown came to greet us. Embracing Abdul warmly, as is the custom in Egypt when two men meet, he told me that he and Abdul are friends for many years, and that I could not have a better guide, which I confirmed enthusiastically.
His name is Ahmed Abdelfatha he is a famous sculptor, and this broken down little house is his studio. I was glad that he spoke quite good English and could explain what he did and how he got his inspirations. “I visit the Royal Tombs of the Pharaoh’s and take photos of the wall paintings. These paintings, which are well-preserved for thousands of years, due to Egypt’s extreme dry climate show the activities of the deceased during his lifetime and what he wishes to do in the afterlife. Then I carve these stories on limestone. “
In the small studio, the only room which is left of this house, were about 30 to 40 pieces of his art. Some were as large as two feet, but most of them were of medium size, in rectangle, square, oval, or round shapes, depending on the scene it depicted. Few were coloured, most of them were monotone.
It was near the end of my trip and my need to buy anything had vanished, but standing in front of these beautiful sculptors bringing back Ancient Egypt, my need to buy came back in full force. It took me a long time to decide. I wanted them all, but had to moderate myself to one. I changed my mind several time, and finally decided on this one. (11″ x 9″)
“How long did it take you to make this?”
“30 hours” he replied, and all he asked me for was $30. In hindsight I should have bought more. But now that I know where he is I can do that on my next trip.
I don’t know how others find Ahmed and his studio, because there is no sign anywhere advertising these treasures. Maybe when you are famous enough, word by mouth is all you need. I hope that when you go to Egypt your guide will know about him – if he doesn’t tell him Ahmed’s studio is located in Luxor on the West Bank near the Valley of the Kings.
More from Egypt soon