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Randa Shaath (US/Egypt)
Under the Same Sky
Randa Shaath, From the series Under the Same Sky

In traditional Cairo, the roof was the place for relaxation. Families grew plants, kept pigeons or looked at the stars there. After 1920, the roof took on a new function. With the arrival of high-rise buildings and apartment complexes, the roof became the living quarters for cleaners and concierges.

In the 1960s, after the fall of the monarchy and the nationalization of a lot of private property, a wave of migrants came from the countryside to the city. Hoping for a better life, they joined others from their families who already lived on the roofs of Cairo. A growth of rooftop settlements was the result.

Randa Shaath (b. United States, 1963) lived for ten years on the fourteenth floor of an apartment building in Cairo and watched with amazement the life that went on the roofs beneath her. She decided to photograph it and, in doing so, she recorded a world that remains hidden from the streets of Cairo.