I returned to Luxor in late October looking forward to some warmth and sunshine, at last. It was just before the Feast of Eid al-Adha, the feast of the Sacrifice. Everyone was in good spirits, a time when families get together from far and wide for the four-day festival. The children have a four day break from school and it so it is a good time to be able to catch up with friends and spend some time together.
The first day of the feast began on Friday and from the early hours the Mosques sang out the start of the celebrations with great gusto, it seemed for several hours. For sensitive English souls the early morning was not the time to go out for a walk as those families who are able after returning from the Mosque would make a sacrifice in thanksgiving to Allah in the entrance of their properties. Be it a goat, sheep or cow this would be done with all the family present. The meat would then be distributed amongst the poor of the community.
Needless to say I didn’t go out that morning!
Another celebration taking place during my stay was the engagement party of the oldest daughter of friends in Luxor. As you can see this was a beautifully colourful celebration as the entire village takes part and fills the street.
The community in which I stay each time is changing rapidly. The farmland is disappearing with each visit, the building continues and soon there will be few fields left as this village will soon join with the next. Building continues with great enthusiasm since the Revolution, in the blink of an eye another two floors have appeared and the apartment blocks get higher and higher.
Not so long ago when walking around the village you could clearly see the distinctive jagged outline of the rocks of the West Bank which contain the Valleys of Kings, Queens, Nobles and Artisans. A constant reminder of Egypt’s ancient history ever present amongst modern life. As the buildings have grown higher and higher alas this view is no more.
This visit has given me time to think about all the drawings and paintings which have been inspired by Egypt over recent years and how this work can once again grow and develop including a few ideas for paintings to be made from drawings and oil studies in the studio. It was excellent timing that this months issue of The Artist which includes a number of portraits of friends there came out just before I left so they could each have a copy and see how they looked in print! The silverpoint drawings made during this and my previous visit will be posted soon.