For a true lover of the Egyptian age, Louis Barthélemy can translate all his passion through painted poetry.
With 30-year old the French artist and illustrator had just finished a stint designing fabric for Dior and was living between Paris and Marrakech, freelancing for the Florentine leather house Salvatore Ferragamo.
He fell in love when back in 2015 in a bookshop in Tangier, he came across a large-format book entitled “Meres Et Fils” (Mothers and Sons) by the French artist Denis Dailleux. The book consisted of dozens of images of shirtless Egyptian bodybuilders with their mothers covered in headscarves. After a trip to Egypt Louis was confident and moved to Cairo.
The chaos of the city was something that dazzled him every time but Louis Barthélemy also met and fell in love with an Egyptian man from a wealthy, upper-class family; fewer than ten months later he returned to Cairo and has lived there on and off for two years, voraciously consuming the history and artisanal techniques of Egypt and feeding them into his own tapestries and drawings.
When in Cairo Louis Barthélemy searches out fragments of Egypt’s past and uses those images to stitch together his own fantasy of the city’s most tolerant and extravagant era during the late 1800s and early 1900s, a time when Egyptian princes and British aristocracy would mingle in grand casinos, opera halls and Art Deco lobbies in the cosmopolitan Talaat Harb district. “I picture in my mind the blissful frivolous scenes and parties that happened over a century ago in these grand buildings and lush gardens, now faded and overgrown, and those images often find themselves into my tapestries.”