Monday, 8 January 2018

Alina Fedorenko | City of The Dead

Photo © Alina Fedorenko | All Rights Reserved
Cairo’s El-Arafa necropolis, known in English as the City of the Dead, is an unusual place to say the least. The necropolis has been around for more than 800 years in a city so crowded with about 20 million people that thousands have no option but to live here among the tombs and mausoleums .

It's estimated that anywhere between 500,000 and 1 million Egyptians live in the 4-mile-long cemetery zone. There are shops, schools, clinics and even car mechanics that cater to this population. Generations of heads of households that reside there are usually employed by the families whose dead are buried underneath these mortuary structures, and have been there for decades. 

Although this settlement is technically illegal, the Egyptian government has since given up on evicting residents since it would create urban problems that it can ill afford. Depending on the size of the tombs and mausoleums, these living quarters are larger and cleaner than many in other slums, having gardens and courtyards, an impossibility in other areas.

Alinka Fedorenko's City of the Dead is a gallery of photographs of a number of interior living spaces at the City of the Dead. She tells us that "the neighborhood is poorly policed, crime is on the rise. This place has its own rules and some of the criminals found here a place too, next to families who are raising children. I travelled to Cairo to visit families living in the necropolis, a daily life between the graves, where children play and clothes lines lead from one tombstone to another".

Apart from the City of the Dead, I also admired her Homes of India gallery.

Ms Federenko was born in Ukraine, but raised in Berlin, Germany. She studied Fashion Design in London, returned to German and altered her career path to become a photographer. She's fond of bright and rich colors, and documents people who live marginal existences. She's a single mother who travels for her work with her young child.

She has been recognized with more than international awards, of which the latest are The 10th Pollux Awards Winner in Category People and Daily Life 2017 and the Silver Winner at PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris 2017.