Drawings are not only representations of reality, they are personal accounts by individuals seeing things from a unique perspective. In other words, drawings do not merely repeat what is in front of you, they also repeat what may be hidden and make it visible. A drawing is also a record of a time, a place, a person, or a thing. It can convey emotions, and it can freeze a moment that is fleeting. I use drawings to explore the places I visit, to make notes of the things I find and the people I meet, to remember the meal I had, and to illustrate a story that could be forgotten a few years from now.
The streets of Adliya tell a story. They tell a tale of a neighborhood, and a community, that has transformed. This change, however, has manifested itself in several ways, and the most obvious indication can be found through its architecture and the urban landscape. Old houses were renovated and reinvented into chic restaurants and cafés, some buildings were torn down and replaced with contemporary designs, and others were simply destroyed. Their ghosts are still visible in the empty lots and palm tree-less spaces that remain. A great number of things can happen in a few years; Adliya is an example of how precious urban environments can quickly become banal, monotonous neighborhoods that look just like the one down the road. But before this moment is gone, before the zeitgeist is lost, there is a need to preserve this transient period at a time when multiple layers of intervention still exist in this one beautiful place.
Through a series of enlarged illustrations, this project will attempt to draw attention to the often unnoticed idiosyncrasies throughout Block 338. The drawings come with annotations hinting at the unique features that can be found within each particular perspective. The underlying messages, written on the back of the frame, react to the unfortunate truths that this threatened urban landscape is facing. And at a time when demolition anxiety is prevalent, a drawing may be the last piece of evidence proving that a home existed where a new parking garage now stands.
Photo credit: Abdulrahman Abdullah