Gudran and El-Max
From 2000 to 2008, Gudran worked with the people of El-Max to spread awareness of the maintenance and development of the village amongst the villagers themselves as well as the government in Alexandria. At the beginning, the majority of the decision makers in Alexandria favored the issuance of a governmental decree to remove the village and relocate its people to other places away from the coast, which would have rendered their fishing careers useless. Approximately 15,000 inhabitants of El-Max faced mass displacement. Despite the fact that 35% of the fish production in Alexandria comes from the fishermen of El-Max, the government still developed its unannounced plans for relocation, and villagers grew disillusioned with their futures and thus did not care for the maintenance and development of the village. Houses continued to deteriorate, sanitation levels fell, and the village saw no improvement in its economy. Moreover, villagers overlooked the importance of educating their children and criminality rose among the youth.
From this reality Gudran began its work in the Village of the Fisherman of El-Max with art as the means to establish a neutral ground for dialogue between the organization and the villagers. Through collective artistic practices we were able to create a space that allowed for the acceptance of the other. From 2000 to 2002 Gudran’s work focused on fostering a connection with the village through art workshops aimed toward educating the village women, children, and teenagers. Then from 2002 to 2006 Gudran began attempts to open the village to the world around them through a series of international artistic events that worked toward dissolving the border between the people of the village and the others coming from different cultures. The events shed light on the conditions of the village and thus the village received more attention from the media as well as the administration in El-Max. From 2007 to 2009 Gudran trained a group of people from the village to assume responsibility over Gudran’s project because we believe in the critical sustainment of this project through the people of the Village of the Fisherman of El-Max themselves.