For my graduation project, I decided to revive and encourage the understanding of Egyptian proverbs through comically visualised illustrations. Proverbs are popular sayings expressing a common truth and are essentially the accumulation of people’s experiences that can trace all the way back to the Ancient Egyptians.

With today’s technological advancements and considering factors such as globalization, the media and other western influences, we are exposed to everything around us. Consequently, current generations, myself included, have become less in touch with their culture and language to the extent that often times they opt to use English proverbs rather than those from their mother tongue. We’re slowly rejecting parts of our culture as Egyptians. Albeit there are some cultural traditions that not everyone agrees with, but it’s sad to not fully appreciate the great things about it.

As Egyptians, we’re considered very expressive and humorous people, and this is interestingly reflected in our proverbs and the amount of creativity, humor and wit that is put into them. So why not creatively emphasise them?

With the help of my mentor, Bahia Shehab, I was able to emulate the Egyptian humor with 100 illustrated proverbs. The perfect means to revive, record and treasure an important part of the true Egyptian culture.

More info:

“As the saying goes” book cover.

“The men died in the war”

Arabic Proverb: الرجالة ماتو في الحرب
Translation: The men died in the war
Meaning: There are no real men these days

“The clever woman weaves using a donkeys leg”

Arabic Proverb: الشاطرة تغزل برجل الحمار
Translation: The clever woman weaves using a donkeys leg
Meaning: Making the most out of little to no resources

“The bellydancer dies while her waist is still shaking”

Arabic Proverb: تموت الرقاصة ووسطها بيلعب
Translation: The bellydancer dies while her waist is still shaking
Meaning: Old habits die hard

“Every moustache has its own scissors”

Arabic Proverb: كل شنب وليه مقاس
Translation: Every moustache has its own scissors
Meaning: Every situation has its solution/way of dealing with it

“Moon 14”

Arabic Proverb: قمر ١٤
Translation: Moon 14
Meaning: Refers to the moon cycle on day 14 when the moon is full and brightest, commonly used to describe a beautiful woman

“Dress a stick and it turns to a bride”

Arabic Proverb: لبس البوصة تبقى عروسة
Translation: Dress a stick and it turns to a bride
Meaning: Anything can be made pretty using the right resources

“Every pot has its own cover”

Arabic Proverb: كل حلة ليها غطاها
Translation: Every pot has its own cover
Meaning: Every person has a perfect match for them