Two weeks ago, our legal guardian MO4 Network's #MO4Events gathered some of Cairo's baddest and bravest people for its monthly rooftop shindig Urban Picnic. Overlooking the fiercest and greatest city that has ever lived, some felt inspired, some felt challenged, and some poured their hearts out in candid conversations, revealing their inner drive to define themselves in an ever-changing world. In a generation that prides itself on its idleness, these young visionaries display wisdom beyond their years as they forge ahead, blazing their own trails.
While others were busy dancing, Huawei challenged us to find talented individuals who are #AStepAhead in their respective fields, or, in other words, the Mate 9s of humans. So we ambushed these five with existential questions about purpose, doubts, and transcending one's craft lines and had ourselves an intense, illuminating and sometimes tear-jerking Humans of Cairo moments. Keep a tissue box handy. Also, check your negativity at the door.
But because a picture is worth a thousand words and we had too much free time on our hands, we grabbed our Huawei Mate 9s and set out to channel our inner Annie Lebowitz as we documented the moment – by that we mean we let the phone’s user-friendly and ugly-proof Leica Dual Camera do all the work for us.
Ahmed Zaatar - Photographer
With almost ten years' experience in commercial photography, I figured it was time for me to help startups and dreamers with little means get quality visuals, rather than settling for what their money can afford. I dream of taking people, specially fellow photographers, to beautiful and exotic places where they can be inspired to take beautiful pictures.
Amr Saad - Eyewear Designer
I’m very stubborn when it comes to challenges; I put in my all to overcome them, which is often the case, in my line of work, because I make my pieces with precious metals, because I go about it as a jewellery maker.
Somewhere down the line, the industry shifted; it used to be intimate and now it is a mass production process. This was the main challenge because no one in the region produces such personal and artisanal eyewear. I used to collect sunglasses as a kid, so to me it is a way of reviving the past, and being very authentic about it.
I live in the now, and I leave the future to the future. But I’d say the future is bright and promising, I’m not putting any limits on it. The dream is to turn it into a self-expression jewellery brand, but also pouring your heart into it, so people can feel it and it doesn’t end up just being another accessory.
Hassan Hassan - Painter an Illustrator
I'm always prepared, but my sense of humour and my talent are what sets me apart. I work hard and also know how to do nothing really well; I'm pretty balanced as a character for the most part. I am working on notebooks and mugs for RNDM Designs coming out in April and planning an exhibition by next year, which will hopefully be different to the things people have come to expect from me. At the end of the day, you're not doing anything if you're not changing, so more work for sure, but the more I plan, the less I do, so I plan to have more of everything, I guess, and to have fun doing it. I want to be remembered for being genuine.
Neobyrd - Musician and Producer
I put myself in my music. I don’t make a point out of being unique or anything; it only comes out original to you guys. If anything, I don’t really care about the music itself, I’m doing something that I see. It’s something you should see and listen to. I’m not going to be satisfied with people listening to my music on soundcloud. To me, Neobyrd is a brand; a bold statement combining music and a show and a distinct culture.
A brand, to me, is something that has a very bold character. I don’t care if people like it or not, I would rather people feel the brand’s character and feel that it is personal. It’d be an achievement to pour my heart into something, to be different, and to make a characteristic statement. I want to be remembered for my humour.
Chanel Aref - Makeup Artist and Painter
I don’t really know what makes me different because all of us are equipped with different amazing traits and qualities that we can admire in one another. Looking back at my life, I became aware of how I was conducting myself in my everyday life, and I realized that I need focus to achieve what I want, and that’s what made me different and capable of chasing my dream in such a way that I can actually see that I’m going somewhere.
I think what made me different was also realizing that it’s not about my ego, or even being the best or pioneering new things, it’s about being true to yourself and knowing what makes you happy at the end of the day and what you’re passionate about, and stick to what comes naturally to you. I just work, I create, regardless of what people might think, or whether it’s going to look stupid, or whether I fail.
I’m in the constant pursuit of being successful or creating work that is complete, practicing self-awareness and keeping my ego in check, being as objective as I can to myself and knowing that art is only as strong as how true you are creating it. That’s what allows me to be where I am. I am definitely going to create installations and use body painting in a way that I haven’t done before. I’m going to start creating more interactive and multidimensional art, and explore new methods that I haven’t tried out. I want my work to be accessible to everyone, so all people can emotionally experience it.
Main Image: Cairo Zoom
*The content of this article is sponsored.