Mahmoud Shaltout's #CairoFilmed collection is a fresh reminder of Cairo's timelessness.
In the midst of the fast-paced nature of our Cairo lives, we often walk past iconic buildings without stopping to take in just how intricate and beautiful they are. However, their undeniable cultural significance hasn't gone unnoticed by Mahmoud Shaltout. Shaltout, better known artistically as Mac Toot, is a local comic artist and Assistant Professor of Public Health at AUC. His collection, #CairoFilmed, takes snapshots of iconic locations from classic Egyptian films, and superimposes them over modern photos of the artist standing at those same spots for a striking sense of timelessness.
Having grown up in the Gulf and the UK, black-and-white Egyptian films were the only concrete link Shaltout had to Egypt. These films told the stories of the Egypt he rarely saw growing up.
When asked about his inspiration behind merging the old and new stories of Egypt, Shaltout told CairoScene, “It happened by accident… I found myself sitting by the very same staircase featured in a scene in Kamal El-Sheikh’s film Al-Les Wel Kelab,” a 1962 movie based on the novel by Naguib Mahfouz. The image of the stairs resonated with him, and ignited his vision to save Egypt’s monumental buildings and cinematic moments through artistic expression.
Shaltout is driven by his passion to tell stories of Cairo’s history. He fears that every time a historical building is demolished and replaced with a tower, Cairo’s beautiful architecture is slowly but surely being chipped away.
“I am trying to archive these places and preserve these buildings," Shaltout told CairoScene. "I hope my art serves as a medium to change people’s way of thinking and stress on the importance of protecting them.”
Thanks to Shaltout’s stunning aesthetic displays of the old and new Egypt, we've made a new connection to our cultural history that we won't take for granted again.