From Pigeons with Love, 2017
Paper, Fishing Wire
When beginning this piece, the current coverage on what was happening in Egypt described the arrest of LGBTQ youth on the streets of Cairo and Alexandria, going as far as sentencing most of them to the death penalty. From Pigeons with Love was inspired by the outpour of the calls of help that started appearing on social media as a result of the youth that could only find solace in their Facebook friends and Instagram followers. As I scrolled through the feed of different statuses and stories, I noticed a Facebook status by someone from Alexandria which was dedicated to a loved one who lives in Montreal, Canada. The status was very heartfelt but also heartbreaking. It illustrated some of what happened in Egypt and requested that the loved one did not come back since there was no place left for them to be.
I transcribed the text into a formal Arabic letter and then created another version in English. I proceeded to print both versions of the letter on pieces of paper, only to fold them into pigeons. Pigeons have been known to be carrier birds that took letters and somehow always got the letters in time to their respective attendees. I was very charmed by the idea that we would take the love letters we have and fold them into carrier pigeons when we fail to send them ourselves. It seemed like a romanticized notion of taking the everyday status and making it so much more than it is, especially when there was so much attached to the original text in the first place.