On a recent trip to Egypt I went on a cruise going from Luxor in the north to Aswan in the south. One day when I came back to my hut there was a mysterious creature lying in my bed. It was made out of towels and wore my sunglasses, my hat, and the Egyptian soccer shirt I’d bought the other day. The next day I was greeted by a new creature. This went on for the next couple of days. On the fourth day I tracked down the identities of the mysterious towel artists.
Hi there, why are you making creatures out of towels?
Mohe Sedky: We clean for eight hours a day, sometimes more, and we’re away from our families for six days a week. This little towel ritual is the only fun we get.
Abd El Basr [pictured]: It makes me happy to look at them.
They’re awesome, probably the best mundane art I’ve seen. Do they take long to make?
Mohe: Only about seven minutes, we’ve done it for over five years now.
Abd: We teach each other new techniques and discuss ideas. We could probably make anything out of towels and sometimes we get to decorate for birthday parties and special occasions.
I bet you’re quite popular around here.
Some people like what we do and give us tip but some tourists complain.
Mohe: Our boss isn’t happy, he yells at us and tells us we’re not allowed to borrow people’s personal belongings in this way.