Sweet Habibi

Habibi = my love, darling
Karen Paulina is in Cairo in February/ March 2013.
The political situation is what we have read and seen. They were celebrating the second anniversary of the revolution which overthrew Mubarak. As we know with the benefit of a short amount of hindsight, the situation has since become something dark. Karen Paulina was there in a moment where the situation was not clear. There was doubt, uncertainty.
Karen Paulina befriended a taxi driver who became a complice of sorts. She was looking for something fun, and Sahid followed her lead.
She found a belly dancing club that was straight out of the 1950's.The people inside seemed to be taking solace from the threat of extremism. They didn't want to be thinking about what was going on, or what might possibly happen. But of course this desire of simple entertainment is given a new meaning. Firstly, it is taking place in buildings that are now falling apart. Secondly, now it does not happen openly or freely, but in an almost 'secretive' way. Thirdly, its meaning is affected by the dark political context that now looms. These three dynamics seem to represent the meaning of the other, resulting in a kind of nostalgic sublimation of the present. What was there, what remains, and what threatens to be. Eternal questions, both personal and political.Creativity often finds fertility in turmoil or doubt, at a point preceding or following one of 'what was', 'what remains', 'what will be'.
There is something in this body of work that is different to a standard photo reportage.
Karen Paulina wants to extend its possibilities. But also, she is using the formulas of photo journalism to express something personal. I can say that she is using whatever the situation in Cairo is as a theatre for her own performance. All of this becomes translated into a revolutionary diary, or a diary of revolution.

In this reportage, personal meets politics. Sweet Habibi is a tale of transcendence. There is great value for Karen Paulina in simple joy, tenderness and sexuality. She finds this chaotic context allows her to express those things in herself, and also that those things are meaningful answers to political unrest. Five year on, and maybe these pictures suggest that tenderness remains the enduring expression, and solution, to political turmoil.

'The more I make the revolution, the more I want to make love.
The more I make love, the more I want to make revolution.' - Julio Cortazar



Sweet Habibi

Habibi = my love, darling
Karen Paulina is in Cairo in February/ March 2013.
The political situation is what we have read and seen. They were celebrating the second anniversary of the revolution which overthrew Mubarak. As we know with the benefit of a short amount of hindsight, the situation has since become something dark. Karen Paulina was there in a moment where the situation was not clear. There was doubt, uncertainty.
Karen Paulina befriended a taxi driver who became a complice of sorts. She was looking for something fun, and Sahid followed her lead.
She found a belly dancing club that was straight out of the 1950's.The people inside seemed to be taking solace from the threat of extremism. They didn't want to be thinking about what was going on, or what might possibly happen. But of course this desire of simple entertainment is given a new meaning. Firstly, it is taking place in buildings that are now falling apart. Secondly, now it does not happen openly or freely, but in an almost 'secretive' way. Thirdly, its meaning is affected by the dark political context that now looms. These three dynamics seem to represent the meaning of the other, resulting in a kind of nostalgic sublimation of the present. What was there, what remains, and what threatens to be. Eternal questions, both personal and political.Creativity often finds fertility in turmoil or doubt, at a point preceding or following one of 'what was', 'what remains', 'what will be'.
There is something in this body of work that is different to a standard photo reportage.
Karen Paulina wants to extend its possibilities. But also, she is using the formulas of photo journalism to express something personal. I can say that she is using whatever the situation in Cairo is as a theatre for her own performance. All of this becomes translated into a revolutionary diary, or a diary of revolution.

In this reportage, personal meets politics. Sweet Habibi is a tale of transcendence. There is great value for Karen Paulina in simple joy, tenderness and sexuality. She finds this chaotic context allows her to express those things in herself, and also that those things are meaningful answers to political unrest. Five year on, and maybe these pictures suggest that tenderness remains the enduring expression, and solution, to political turmoil.

'The more I make the revolution, the more I want to make love.
The more I make love, the more I want to make revolution.' - Julio Cortazar



Sweet Habibi by Karen Paulina Biswell
Sweet Habibi by Karen Paulina Biswell
Sweet Habibi by Karen Paulina Biswell