The Shippers Haven’t Shown

Magda’s Moulid PaintingThis will be the hardest thing to ship: a painting by Magda, who also happens to be the mother of a well-known journalist and blogger in Cairo.

I once bought a painting at a gallery in Baghdad – an abstract, almost cubist, trio of musicians – and, in order to get it home, I had to take it off the frame and roll the canvas up and put it in a tube in my luggage. Having it remounted and framed cost three times as much as I paid for the artwork.

This piece is also a trio of musicians, and is quite a bit larger — about 3 feet by 4 feet. It’s part of a series of paintings of scenes from a moulid, a kind of birthday festival for what passes for saints in Egypt (though they’re not officially Islamic).

Maybe I’ll start a collection of images of middle eastern musicians. Collecting is in my blood. My grandmother had hundreds of sets of salt and pepper shakers in two china cabinets in the grandparents’ old house in Mecca (that’s the one in Ohio).

I’ve spent the afternoon waiting for workers to come and pack up about 2/3rds of my belongings here so they can ship them back to the states. That will avoid the hassle of dragging everything to the airport and paying excess baggage fees, which the airlines now delight in wringing every dollar/euro/pound/dinar they can from.

And I won’t have to drag the excess bags up the fourth floor walk-up Marie has kindly let me crash at for a while when I return.

Magda Mother Child

But I’m not sure how we’ll deal with the paintings I’ve bought.

Guess when the shippers show, we’ll have a conversation about that.

When they show.


This is another one by the same artist. The woman’s beautiful face reminds me of my friend G.


3 thoughts on “The Shippers Haven’t Shown

  1. It’s a very nice fourth-floor walkup but what surprised me is how much warmer it is up there than it is on the first floor of the building. As you ascend the stairs, the hallways become warmer and warmer. By 4, it’s crazy-hot and all you can do is unlock the door and head straight to the A/C.

    I’m sure it also doesn’t help that I closed and locked all the windows when I left. (Sensible thing to do when leaving for months, but not so nice to come home to.)

  2. brad

    this artist is ecuadorean, i think – Guayasamín. or else, the artist in cairo has “borrowed” from him very closely.

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