Renowned photographer Sherif Sonbol -- who has worked for Al-Ahram Weekly and Ahram Online -- opened his latest exhibition 'The Meetingpoint of Faith' on Monday 14 April at the Amir Taz Palace.
The exhibition contains 25 photographs showing Islamic, Coptic and Jewish monuments and architecture to express how the artist sees Cairo as the city which has hosted different religions in peaceful co-existence.
Among the important icons of Cairo photographed are: Sultan Hassan Mosque, Ibn Tolon Mosque, the Hanging Church, and the Jewish Synagogue in Old Cairo.
Refaie Mosque (Photo: Courtesy of Sherif Sonbol)
Ben Ezra (Photo: Courtesty of Sherif Sonbol)
Sonbol drew inspiration from the photographic works by Antoun Albert, Emil Makram and Mohamed Youssef before defining his own independent and powerful artistic path. A self-taught photographer who left a rising career in an insurance company to follow his passion, Sonbol started working at Al-Ahram under Antoun's auspices and later on became a chief photographer at Al-Ahram Weekly and for many years served as the photographer for the Cairo Opera House. Today in his 50s, hundreds of Sonbol's pictures are published across Al-Ahram publications.
It is through photography that Sonbol rediscovers an important historical continuum that he believes is encoded in all Egyptians. Mulid! Carnivals of Faith (2001), Mamluk Art: The Splendor and Magic of the Sultans (2001), The Pharaohs (2002), 40 Pyramids of Egypt and their Neighbours (2005), The Churches of Egypt (2007) are among over 20 illustrated books published with Sonbol's photography which allow the photographer and traveler to capture the wholeness of Egypt soaked in over 5000 years of history, and a multitude and richness of traditions.
As his name grew to prominence, Sherif Sonbol was the first Egyptian photographer to have a photography book published. He is also the only Egyptian photographer to have had his works exhibited at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Centre, in 2003. Since his remarkable success in New York, Sonbol held a number of exhibitions in Egypt as well as in Germany, Finland and Poland.
In a number of his international exhibitions Sonbol is often drawn towards the reflection about Egypt being a "crossroad of faiths," providing a testimony to the complex mix of traditions that constitutes the fabric of Egyptian society and the soul of Egyptians.
"Due to its geographical positioning, Egypt has been a place where religions began, and where numerous cultures were born," Sonbol commented to Ahram Online in 2012.
The exhibition opening was attended by Minister of Culture Mohamed Saber Arab, Ahram Organisation chairman Ahmed El-Sayed El-Naggar, and chairman of the Culture Development Fund Khaled Galal. Many foreign delegates and ambassadors were also present, such as the ambassadors of Japan, Poland, and Czech Republic.
Hanging Church (Photo: Courtesy of Sherif Sonbol)
The exhibition is ongoing until Saturday
opening daily 10am - 4pm
Street 17 Sharia Suyufiyya, Islamic Cairo