Art doesn't just imitate life in Mohamed El Dib's photo series EjibshanBound, it embraces it.
The drastic devaluation of the Egyptian pound became a grim economic reality and dominated the media overnight – all for a good reason. When the average Egyptian’s purchasing power drops to its all time lowest, it is only normal to express one’s rage through verbal diarrhea on social media, because the internet is now everyone’s punching bag.
One person who opted for a less in-your-face response, and whose voice could be heard above the kerfuffle, is designer Mohamed El Dib. The young creative offered his non-partisan two cents with haunting imagery. “A few months ago everyone on my newsfeed was whining about the devaluation of the Egyptian pound and I felt I had something to say about it too. So, I decided to express myself with photos,” El Dib tells us. “But I don’t like politics and I didn’t want to get political about it.”
After launching his own project #EjibshanBound, El Dib gave us a bit more than just visuals, insights, and commentary – he gave us goosebumps. “Art is not about telling people what to think, it is meant to make you feel something, and through that, you form thoughts of your own,” he says.
Conceptualising setting after setting to portray Egypt’s national currency the way he sees it, El Dib still holds love for the currency, “I have always loved the way the one pound bill looked, and I had some that I had kept since childhood, I had like 60 or 70,” El Dib recounts. “One day I was driving, then I stopped my car, went into McDonalds’, and got one of their fries cups to do my first photo.”
And from then on it was cake, his subsequent 20 #EjibshanBound posts went viral, becoming the most popular content on the topic of the devaluation of the Egyptian Pound, “it was nothing fancy, I literally took the photos with my phone!” He says laughingly. And if that is not a happy enough ending for you, all 20 photos were later featured in an exhibition by Photopia!
El Dib’s personal enterprise aims to encourage whoever comes across his photos to voice what they evoke in them. In a time when voices are getting louder and narratives are getting more polarised, El Dib is one of the few artists trying to demilitarise the internet by creating a virtual space where your criticism is not considered treason, and your justification isn’t misconstrued as hypocrisy. It just simply tells you what happened, and asks you how you feel about it. No judgment, no pressure!
Check out the rest of the images from the series below.
Follow Mohamed El Dib on Facebook and Instagram @mohamedeldib!