Preserving a Family Legacy
Born and raised in Cairo’s El-Darb El-Ahmar neighborhood, Sadek considers his current work as a continuation of his family’s legacy. In the early 20th century, his ancestors were affectionately known as “El-Warakeen” or the papermen, individuals involved in various paper-related endeavors. Sadek’s grandfather, the proprietor of “Sadek Bookshop,” located in El-Sayeda Zeinab neighborhood’s Port-Said Street (formerly El-Khaleeg El-Masry Street), inspired him with a profound passion for preserving history.
Assuming his father’s role at the family shop during his youth, Sadek quickly realized that secondhand book and magazine sales were not particularly lucrative. This realization prompted him to transition from a salesperson to a collector and archivist, focusing on amassing an impressive collection of magazines, books, pressbooks, and posters that meticulously trace Egypt’s and the Arab world’s history in arts, politics, and daily life. “It was after the 1992 earthquake that I made the decision to transform my practice,” Sadek recalls. “The Egyptian government’s relocation of individuals near Al-Azhar to facilitate officials’ commutes left us searching for a new space near El-Batneya neighborhood’s infamous mountain. The subsequent resettlement near El-Azbakeya Garden in El-Attaba marked a turning point.”
Determined to attract customers and boost sales, Sadek began implementing eye-catching changes to his newsstand, incorporating a thematic variety of historical, artistic, and pop culture displays. His efforts did not go unnoticed, and soon, he found himself in the limelight, becoming a sought-after guest on radio and television programs. Esteemed writers such as Waheed Hamed and Youssef Maaty, as well as renowned stars like Adel Imam and Youssra, sought Sadek’s expertise and accessed his extensive collection to gather archival information for their research and performances.
Promoting Cultural Heritage
Sadek’s dedication to preserving and showcasing Egypt’s cultural heritage extends beyond his Cairo-based endeavors. Over the years, he has organized numerous exhibitions both within Egypt and abroad. One of his most prominent exhibitions was held during the 2014 edition of the Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF). This showcase featured classic posters from Egypt’s golden era of black and white cinema, along with pressbooks, lobby stills, and vintage box office tickets, allowing visitors to delve into the different decades of the film industry’s history.
If you are interested in the history of Egyptian cinema, you might also enjoy reading about the Egyptian stuntman who performed daring feats for many films.