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Nubian Holding Patterns

Prototypes of Spatial Resistance

Jessica Cristavao






Using the labour of working through old rituals, this project constructs prototypes of spatial resilience as ways of seeing and remembering. These prototypes make how things were, visible and conscious; it reveals hidden and forgotten patterns of an endangered culture. The project takes as its location the site of the Aswan Dam, and Lake Nasser. In 1964, as a result of the building of the dam, over 100 000 Egyptian Nubians were forced to move from 45 villages and relocated to Aswan.

This project is interested in the recurrence and disappearance of ceremonialism and rituals among Nubian people. Much of the life of old Nubia revolved around ceremonialism. This study therefore reveals and discusses some of the most important and distinctive aspects of Nubian culture, by providing some clues regarding the possible patterns of future cultural change among Nubians. The displacement of this group of people came with a deep cultural loss. They experienced language deterioration, loss of community spirit, a change in the role of women in society, costumes and attire, ceremonies and customs, changes in spatial arrangements of homes and villages, and even changes in political and economic life. Since Nubian life was based on ceremonies and all things were an event, this is the basis of this research. These ways of seeing and remembering will provide a space for Nubian continuity and resilience in their customs, while taking into consideration adaptation as well as any changes, tangible or non-tangible.


Abu Simbel, Nubia


Ceremony, Culture, Loss, Rituals, Spatial, Displacement, Memory, Archiving, Adapting

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