The Tentmakers of Cairo


Cesar E. Chavez Building
1110 James E. Rogers Way, Room 111
85721 Tucson , AZ


Wed, 03/07/2018 - 7:00pm to Mon, 05/23/2022 - 8:17pm


Part of the Spring 2018 Film Series: The Artists

Location: Cesar E. Chavez Building, Room 111 (1110 James E. Rogers Way, Tucson, AZ 85721)

Click here to watch the trailer 

From Documentary Educational Resources

The Tentmakers of Cairo offers unprecedented access to a small community of talented craftsmen, known as tentmakers, who practice the uniquely Egyptian art of Khayamiya, or hand stitched appliqué. In a small covered market, in the heart of Old Islamic Cairo, four tentmakers expertly stitch ornate Islamic designs, as their centuries-old craft collides with a 21st century revolution.

Historically, Khayamiya was used to decorate the interiors of tents, and is an important part of Egypt's living heritage that dates back to the time of the Pharaohs. However, in a more modern, tourist-friendly incarnation, today's artisans create wall-hangings and cushion covers. The film provides access to the techniques and practices surrounding this traditional art, as well as its changing audience as the tentmakers travel to the USA and France to showcase their work in quilting exhibitions. Abroad, the tentmakers find new attention and customers, and bemoan the lack of respect for their work in their own country.

Spanning three turbulent years, from Egypt's January 2011 revolution ending President Mubarak's 30-year rule to the June 2014 election of Abdel Fatah al Sisi, viewers experience the revolution through the eyes of these Egyptians. With tourism at a standstill, the tentmakers struggle not only to maintain their culture and craft, but also to survive.


Kim Beamish

Country of Origin 

Arabic (English Subtitles)

Year/ Length 
2015/ 100 min

Sayed Issa