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Representations in posters of ideal nature

Vincent Battesti

In Egypt, main tourist destination for archaeological, natural, and cultural landscapes, walls in apartments or small businesses display exotic, from an Egyptian point of view, ideal natures.

The idea is to start an anthropological reflexion on these representations of nature enclosed in posters of the paradisiacal nature, strange copy/paste made with Photoshop of ecological environments and/or architectures juxtaposed in an improbable way. They are called mandhar tabî’î in Arabic, “natural landscapes”. These posters are composed above all of greenery and water scenes. The local exoticism is not built on those banal date palm trees, those commonplace dunes and desert landscape. The local exoticism is a mix of Swiss snowy forests and mountains, of rainforest waterfalls, and Versailles-style castles and pounds with a luxuriant composition of ornamental flowers.

I began to reassemble the pathway of design of these posters which one finds everywhere on the walls in Egypt, in public places (rather male public places like male hairdressers or of the road restaurants) or in private interiors, generally in good place in the living room (see here, in Siwa Oasis: Inviting nature home).

I initially supposed, wrongfully, that they were part of this stream of cheap Chinese productions for a niche market, Egypt. Actually, they are designed, drawn, and produced in Cairo or in its nearby suburbs (mainly Shubra), and distributed through the country with their catalogues. They can be ordered in different sizes, small-framed pictures till four by two metres posters to be pasted on the wall.

The landscape is always forged from the outside of the place, foreigner. What do reveal these posters representations of ideal natures by Egyptian? These posters create a space of exotic nature stretching between nostalgia and promise of Paradise and the attractiveness of a globalized world.

Sample posters from the catalog of the company (Cairo), which creates and distributes.

 See the collection of posters on this page: Collection of fantasy landscapes posters.

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Vincent Battesti , "Representations in posters of ideal nature " (online), Anthropoasis |, page published 6 May 2006 (consulted 24 May 2024), available on: