In 2010, the photographer Nabil Boutros produces a series of self-portraits that moves Egyptian society. He can not guess that the revolution will break through that society one year later.
A person’s clothing and appearance send messages asserting his or her identity or thinking, assertions addressed to a circle of relationships. Well-mastered, appearance expresses less a state of fact and becomes pure communication. How far can we trust it? I have observed that in recent years many people in Egypt, changed their look radically and relatively fast and, in the same way, changed their social relationships. What can be deduced from this? That everyone has multiple faces? That clothes make the man? I started this project in February 2010, miming with my face and brushing, dyeing and shaving my hair and beard differently at different stages throughout one year to take on many Egyptian male characters. The photographic series Egyptians was on view in Cairo in 2010, when the bomb attack in Alexandria killed 21 people. As a response to this attack, the director of the gallery and myself made a protest poster using the photographs, adding the slogan All Egyptians. Ten days later the revolution started. During the sit-ins on Tahrir Square, activists displayed the poster All Egyptians as a symbol of unity. - Nabil Boutros