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Re-creating Egypt’s ‘beautiful era’ with @w_elkhateb

To see more of Walaa’s photos, follow @w_elkhateb on Instagram.

Twenty-five-year-old Walaa ElKhateb (@w_elkhateb) lives in a small town in Upper Egypt in a house filled with extended family. In her bedroom, she finds peace and quiet, surrounded by tokens from Egypt during its “beautiful era” — which ended in the 1950s. “My dream is to create something that reflects who I am,” says Walaa. It all started with her rummaging through family heirlooms and bringing them to life through art. Her collection includes a vintage rotary dial phone, a red classic View-Master and an assortment of old cameras. And it’s not just objects that Walaa collects from the past — she also paints iconic figures of the era. A recurring image in her work is Umm Kulthum, arguably Egypt’s most influential singer. “I feel empowered by women like Umm Kulthum,” she says. “People still listen to her, know her songs by heart and idolize her. She is one of those icons no one can forget.”

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