Cairo Maquette

Tarek Imam

Cairo, 2045 The “Cairo Work Gallery”, an independent gallery dedicated to marginalized arts, announces that it is offering a grant to build a small model (maquette) of Cairo as it was a quarter of a century ago, in the year 2020, when it was still the capital of Egypt. From this starting point, the novel explores the capital city at four points in its history: 2045, 2020, 2011 and an unknown time in the distant future, focusing in each period on a main protagonist who is an independent artist. There is Urija, passionate designer of maquettes of the city, who has suffered the stigma of being blamed for the death of his father since he was a child; Noud, a documentary film maker under police surveillance since coming out of prison two years before, where she had done time for offending public morals in her last film; Baliardo, a graffiti artist at the time of the January revolution, always on the run from the police for defacing the city walls; and Manga, the cartoonist who possesses two kinds of memories of the city. While the different time periods intersect, the location remains the same: the gallery. Cairo Maquette explores the relationship of the city with the individual, and in particular with the marginalized artist, searching for his identity, who is rejected by everyone, by state and society alike.




2022 Shortlist