Mohamed Elshahed


During my fellowship I will work on a book about the British Museum’s Modern Egypt Project. Objects collected for the project ranged from ephemera and advertising material, to photographs, consumer items and packaging, clothing and furniture. In addition to telling stories representing everyday life, the objects chronicle their time of making and their use, as well as the limits of the museum and its expectations, collecting and conservation challenges, issues of coloniality and nationalism, and the blurry line between history and nostalgia. The book presents objects in detail along with a lengthy introduction. Envisioned as a companion to my previous book, Cairo Since 1900: An Architectural Guide that focused on architecture, this book looks at the objects that populated and inhabited the modern Egyptian home, office, shop, and street.

Mohamed Elshahed is a writer, curator, and critic of architecture. He is the author of Cairo Since 1900: An Architectural Guide (AUC Press, 2020) and was the curator of Cairo Modern at New York’s Center for Architecture (October 2021–March 2022). He earned a Masters from MIT’s Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture and a PhD from NYU’s Department of Middle Eastern Studies. He is the curator of the British Museum’s Modern Egypt Project and of Modernist Indignation, Egypt’s winning pavilion at the 2018 London Design Biennale. In 2019 Apollo Magazine named him among the 40 influential thinkers and artists in the Middle East. In 2011 he founded Cairobserver, a fluid project with six printed magazines distributed for free to stimulate public debates around issues of architecture, heritage, and urbanism. Mohamed is based in Mexico City.

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