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End Quote: An Innovative Artwork Collective

We speak to the founders of End Quote, a new Egyptian digital art collective that pairs works from local artists and photographers with poetic written versus...

A creative Facebook page that's only been around for a couple of weeks has gained a significant number of followers over quite a short period of time. End Quote are a collaborative by co-founders Mohamed Kassem and Sabah Khodir who create, together with a selection of photographers and writers, a fusion between poetic written verses and their compatible photographs or art works. With a flair for romanticism and rebellion, artworks at End Quote have gained much attention and admiration from the public. We speak to the duo behind the captivating collection of works and find out more about their drive and aspirations.

 I walk down this cultured street and watch as men peer onto my body like they have watched my soul leave it and I have remained only a figure. It is a terrifying reality to recognize that the only thing that stands between you and rape is the presence of a public audience. 
- Sabah Khodir
Photography by Salma El Kashef

So how does End Quote work?

We have constantly been co-writing poetry or prose together, and thought of initiating a page where we could incorporate our thoughts and work through an artistic platform that will allow other people in the Arab world to do the same. End Quote only uses original work, as in pieces of writing or artwork that have not yet been published but carry a lot of promise.

Do you work with particular photographers and artists?

Yes we work with Nada Elkalaawy who is an Egyptian artist based in London. She has been receiving distinct attention for her oriental work exhibited in London recently, which encouraged us to reach out to her with our idea and she enthusiastically agreed, realising the opportunity to openly express her artwork on our platform as she could abroad. We are now collaborating with phenomenal Cairo-based Photographers like Haya Khairat and Youssef Alimam along with Syrian artist Essam Jerko. We have also used many photographs our readers have submitted. Nada Elkalaawy, being our main artist, reviews the artwork and decides if it is suitable to publish on End Quote. We then align the photograph or the sketch with a written piece that suits it best.

When you passed away, they said, 'she must be in a better place.' And what is this better place? Because when we fall asleep our dreams aren't always a better place and when we're left alone our mind is not always a better place. And I think I have met you again in the pacemaker of my heart, in the growing petals of a rose that I grew in my backyard a week after you were gone. I think I have found you in the quiet shimmers of a rising sun after every morning spent thinking about you. I think I have seen you in the soft tide on the shore, in the wrinkles around a child's smiling eyes when I say your name, in the warmth of my grandmother's hand when she tries to comfort my grief. I have found you in the leaves of an early autumn, the leaves that have fallen to the ground but are golden, and gold is prouder than green. I have found you again down here. Down where the earth is messy, but you have put order to it, to me. All these better places around us, that's where you are, that's where I'll be.
- Mohamed Kassem
Photography by Haya Khairat

What is your selection based on? 

Being also the main writers and editors of End Quote,  we collectively review the pieces that are submitted by our readers and discuss whether or not they are suitable for publishing. We like to focus on work that represents the Arab person, although as much as we admire posts on the Arab spring/culture/religion, we are mostly looking for writers who are looking to break taboos, who can freely express subjects that are only spoken of behind closed doors, and who can easily express emotional conditions without a magnitude of discomfort. We're currently scouting talent and insurgents.

Respect is finding an opportunity in a person and realizing that people aren't gateways or exit wounds.
- Sabah Khodir
Photography by Farah Hegazy

What do you seek to achieve through End Quote?

We view this initiative as an inventive protest, where we are looking to bring to our respective Arab cultures the realities that currently encompass our societies, yet are so severely hushed down and repressed. It has been a privilege to view the ingenuity that exists in our communities that is so frequently overlooked. Our aim is to deliver the human ambiance in us all. We welcome every artist and writer in all their human glory and we urge them to find themselves in their art. We are hoping to appeal to more Arab communities and have them join our team with their original artwork as well as literature.

I used to smoke in bathroom stalls.
I'm a porcelain doll
He says girls like me are a needle in a haystack; his blue dragged polo has a lipstick stained collar left behind by the girl he defined as my opposite.
She was not a good girl
Good girls are sculpted by untouched skin and lips that have never tasted whiskey but I went to Berlin once and had a few tequila shots served by a transgender named Beatrice but that's a good story to tell boys in a different place, but in this place I pretend alcohol is a foreign language and Beatrice's only exist in the stories of girls who are my opposite.
Last week a few of my guy friends shared their first high moments and they wrenched in laughter saying I would never understand and I wanted to tell them that the first time I got high I had so much Hershey's cookies and crème I told my best friend I felt like a mixed race child and later that night we thought we got stuck in an elevator because it never moved and then realized we never even pressed the button to begin with and we laughed so hard we fell to the floor and it's a good story in some other place for some other boys but in this place getting high is for girls with fingers too crooked for wedding rings and are only told by girls who are my opposite. He says good girls don't have sex until they're married but I loved him and he was going to leave and I wanted him to stay and I could hear him grab the keys and I was tired of watching him put his organ into other countries saying it was because these girls were the type that could be free and that I'm the kind of girl that came with a territory so I gave him myself in hopes that he would stay but he left anyways and it's a bad story to tell any boy anywhere but it's an even worse story to tell boys here.
In this place
I am taught to study my body like a disease and a man like an antidote
I will always have come from Adam's rib
but I'll never be his counterpart.

I still smoke in bathroom stalls
burning circles into porcelain dolls
Stuck like a needle in a haystack.
- Sabah Khodir
Photography by Salma El Kashef

Do you run any workshops or events?

Since we only started this page a little short of two weeks ago, we have not yet decided on any workshops or events; however, with the rapid growth of our page, the team has discussed the possibilities of upcoming events and we will inform our readers immediately once a decision has been made.

Check out End Quote's Facebook page here, and Instagram here.

Main Photo Credits: Youssef Alimam