Cheese Seller of Giza Painting of Cairo, Egypt

"Cheese Seller of Giza" Pastel, 8x10 © Nelia Harper - Painting of Cairo Egypt
“Cheese Seller of Giza” Pastel, 8×10 © Nelia Harper – Painting of Cairo, Egypt
Painting of Cairo, Egypt the “Cheese Seller of Giza”

Several years ago, after touring the great pyramids just outside of Cairo, I asked my guide to wander through some of the adjacent neighborhood streets. As we walked along the walled pathway, I heard an incredible, high-pitched wailing sound.

My guide didn’t seem to notice, but to my (American) ears, it sounded like a woman in tremendous distress.  Where could it be coming from?  I didn’t see anyone.  There was no commotion in the street.

I asked the guide, “What is that sound?”

“What sound?” he asks.

“That wailing sound.”

He paused for a moment, confused.  Then the voice rose again.  “Oh, that?” he shrugged, “A woman selling cheese. She is letting people in the neighborhood know that she is here, selling her cheese.”

As I rounded the corner, she walked past, carrying her cheese for sale, on her head.

Several years later, looking through my photos, I came upon the photo that was the basis for this painting. What drew me to paint the piece is the contrast of shapes.  The cubist walls, contrasted by just a touch of organic life growing in spite of the dust and concrete, and the sunshine throwing shadows.  All of that contrasts against the black figure of the woman who moves in and out of the shadows in the desert heat.

This painting of Cairo, Egypt is painted in pastel on UArt Archival paper. 8×10


Cheese Seller of Gisa © Nelia Harper
Cheese Seller of Gisa © Nelia Harper


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