Wednesday,20 February, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1408, (6 - 12 September 2018)
Wednesday,20 February, 2019
Issue 1408, (6 - 12 September 2018)

Ahram Weekly

“Raya and Sakina”

“Raya and Sakina”
“Raya and Sakina”

Currently showing at Picasso gallery is Habby Khalil’s photography exhibition “Raya and Sakina”. 

In this project, Khalil is inspired by a notorious criminal case in early 20th-century Egypt to explore the conflict between traditional ideologies and modern liberalism. The title “Raya and Sakina” refers to two sisters who committed a series of murders against women to steal their jewellery.

The sisters had fled Upper Egypt to settle in a slum in the coastal city of Alexandria. They then turned into criminals by murdering women to steal their jewellery through attracting the victims to their home using the false promise of cheap quality goods. At the house the victims were drugged, choked and buried under the tiles. After over 17 murders the sisters were arrested and sentenced to death in 1921, which was the first death sentence against women in modern Egyptian law.

Contrary to many artistic approaches to the story, which tended to deal with the crimes themselves, Khalil explores the execution and the sisters’ different reactions to: Raya’s silence versus Sakina’s bravado.

The artist explores the story in black and white, symbolising the eternal conflict and interdependence of different beliefs. The space surrounding the characters reflects their spiritual sanctuary and their inner isolation, while visual symmetry invites the viewer to focus on the difference between them.

Born in 1979, Khalil is a self-taught visual artist working in photography, film, and video. He utilises historical and cultural subjects as a visual language to address socio-political issues.

The exhibition is on until 12 September

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