F Word in collaboration with Megane Quashie from Femxle First Sessions and creative consultant Sophie Emmett explore the the ever-changing landscape of Middle East and North Africa. Through speaking with the youth, voices in countries that are rarely represented in the media, we outsourced a variety of creatives from these regions and asked for a digital time capsule that we hope will contribute to awareness, education and building bridges.
Introducing visual artist Hannah Patten who lives in Cairo. Hannah imparts her thoughts on finding humour as a coping mechanism in a world that can be challenging, how the city she has grown with educates and motivates her creatively and shares with us a beautiful and emotive video reminiscent of a summer spent with her husband.
HANNAH PATTEN / 31 / CAIRO
What are the biggest challenges you're facing with current world issues?
A huge and very personal thing for me has been dealing with my inner conflicts. I get very anxious and panicky about a lot of things internally that will sit and manifest until it gets to a point where it explodes. So protecting myself and my emotions has been the main thing for me. That's not saying I am totally in control, quite the opposite, this year has pushed me to some pretty challenging places. There is so much in the world that can drown you, so you just need to stay afloat and hope to do the best you can everyday. I rely on humor alot in my life, asides from posting my work online I use my social media platform to mainly share funny things. It has become very therapeutic for me to just laugh and share that laughter.
How would you describe the mood of your city? I am a strong believer that any city you are in, has its own energy for you. The way I react to things here on a daily basis might not be the way someone else sees it.
How does your city inspire you to be creative? Cairo inspires me to push myself and it always has. It just fuels something in me I don't know how to explain it. I grew up here (asides from college and my Masters Degree abroad) this is where the majority of my life has played out. All of the characters in me have been born on these streets so literally every corner of this city has a part of me paved onto it. It is a very surreal feeling to walk by those memories everyday and be like "Damn Hannah, look at you now". Being here reminds me of old inspirations and old lessons so this just sparks a huge sense of creativity in me. With all these versions of myself have come all the stages of creativity and phases I went through as a visual artist so I feel like this motivates me more. What is one misconception about your city? A misconception here is that there is no creativity. Cairo has layers of people and places that can change your life- it's just about discovering them. If you had to create a digital time capsule to describe yourself, your city in 2020, what would it be? If I could freeze a moment in time, it would be the memories in this video. This summer I got married to the love of my life, Seif, who can only be described as the sunshine I was missing in my life. To find someone that believes in you, gives you that light and that fire, and on top of that makes YOU believe in yourself is the best gift the universe can give you. We moved to an isolated town by the beach and spent four months just existing in quarantine. Sheltered from the crumbling world around us, I was truly at my happiest. The song featured in this video Circuit is produced by a local band (friends of ours) called Alan-K, and around 6 months after moving back from the beach and living far away from all these memories, I heard this song for the first time and my entire summer flashed before me. I made the video as a tribute to that feeling and to thank my friends for inspiring me with their song. This is the type of creativity that you can stumble upon here, and there's so much more.