The Mosque of Abu'l Haggag at Luxor Temple, Egypt, 2020. Photo courtesy of Jackie Milad.
My study trip to Egypt was validating. The collage work I was making back in my studio, inspired by my father’s homeland and history, aligned with what I was observing– and feeling in Cairo. I saw direct connections to my work and the dense chaotic tension of the city, the precarity of the aging infrastructure, the visible layered history, diversity of culture, and the vibration of color and sound.
My most memorable experience was seeing the Abu'l Haggag at Luxor Temple. The temple is the oldest site of worship still in use today. It consists of a mosque that was built on top of a coptic church, which was built on top of a Pharaonic Temple, and today dispersed throughout the historic site are the languages of the tourists, Arabic rap music blaring out of cars, signs to the bathroom in every tourist language, pizza hut..etc. History is literally layered—collaged on top of itself!