As post-war, post-Gulf war Hollywood was busy re-inventing stereotypes and re-telling momentous historical events, ‘Egyptian Cinema Posters’ presented a fascinating counterpoint to current Western filmic clichés and perceptions of the Middle East.
Throughout June 1999 billboards span eighteen prominent roadside sites in the city of London including Brick Lane; Atlantic Road; Brixton Station; Waterloo Station Approach; Olympia and Cambridge Circus.
Produced with a passion and flamboyance associated with painting and employing the techniques used by Toulouse-Lautrec in the 19th century, these posters are like vast painting ‘sent to press’.
They were made in the 1980s and 1990s when Egypt was undergoing a period of rapid economic and social change. Historically, the cinema poster in Egypt evolved parallel to the Egyptian film industry which is the oldest in Africa, attracting huge audiences throughout the Middle East and Arabic-speaking countries.
On major roundabouts, under bridges, in narrow alleys and outside cinema theatres, bright, enormous posters dominated the cities of Egypt.
The Lebanese-born artist and designer Rana Salam developed this project, following her research into the art of Egyptian cinema posters as part of her MA thesis.