Abandoned resorts, closed gates, structures in reinforced concrete: a landscape dotted by unnatural architecture evoking a glorious past. This is Sinai Park, a piece of the Middle East made into a supposed magnet for mass tourism.
The once uncontaminated landscape of the Sinai peninsula was irrevocably changed by an awkward capitalism. Ancient traditions were erased in the name of progress: interventions made specifically to attract tourists from the West with all-inclusive and last-minute holidays. But the project was unsuccessful and its outcome is crisis, abandon and desolation, even on those 30 km of private beach that is Sharm el Sheik, the most popular touristic destination.
Egypt has invested everything in tourism. But terrorist attacks, the war in Gaza, the political turmoil of the Arab Spring and the shooting down of a Russian plane that killed 224 people have interrupted the flow of Western tourists, upon which the whole economy of the Region is based.
The government’s reaction was useless: abandoned villages were filled with check-points in order to provide tourists with the semblance of security, but not a single rich foreigner was enticed to return by this military occupation. Instead it is only the Beduin tribes, century-long inhabitants of the desert, that suffer the effects.
What remains is a non-space, a militarized desert, a cemetery of artificial concrete signs scattered in the middle of nowhere. Sinai Park is the second chapter of a trilogy, a “Middle-Eastern Atlas” with Palestine and Lebanon.
Andrea and Magda are photographers from France and Italy, born respectively in 1976 and 1986. They have lived and worked in the Middle East since 2008. Their work focuses on the effects of globalization on society, economy and territory in the Middle East. Their first project, “Palestinian Dream” pictures the transformations of Palestine modeled by an ideal of modernity, and the illusions of an economical development under occupation. In “Sinai Park”, they explore the consequences of mass tourism on the territory of Sinai, Egypt. It has been exhibited at Maison Européenne de la photographie in Paris.
Their work has been published in international magazines (Newsweek Japan, Courrier International, Sunday Times Spectrum magazine, Internazionale, Vrij Nederland, Mare, etc).
“Sinai Park” has won SONY Award 2016.