In Cairo's City of the Dead, graffitis now mix with graves.
3am Mosaad is sitting outside his carpentry workshop, his rounded eyes molded by fatiguing years, his skin cracked by decades of unyielding work crafting furniture for his customers in the City of the Dead.
"I have always lived here; this is where I got married, this is where I had my children, and where I lost my wife," says 3am Mosaad, one of the residents who live in the necropolis.
A city within a city where 1.5 million people live alongside graves and mausoleums, Cairo’s City of the Dead is, ironically, full of life.
Seeking to fight the stigma associated with this place, Polish architect Agnieszka Dobrowolska set off to bring the area’s untapped heritage back to life.
Through graffiti, sculptures, and calligraffiti, artists from across the world have brought colors and life to the necropolis where people dwell.
Now declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the complex is being restored and revived by Archinos, the architectural and design firm Dobrowolska runs.
Stretching for kilometres along the Moqattam hill, the cemetery grew with population and in the 20th century, when Egypt’s population boomed, guards brought their families to live inside the mausoleums and more people settled there.
“When we first came, local residents told us: 'Well, you come here to fix our buildings, but what about us? What about our life?' Dobrovska says.
From Sayed Bayoumi’s rooftop terrace, alongside colourful tombs, the pieces of graffiti stand out. One of the artworks, made by a German sculptor, is called ‘A gate to another world’.
Graffiti by the Graves: Meet the Woman Bringing Art to Cairo’s City of the Dead