Nomad4now tells my story through others. There is no greater challenge or pleasure than to push beyond self, to learn about others and to be grateful for the opportunity. A septuagenarian whose lifetime ebbs and flows through Africa and the Middle East, my mission is to document, through writing, photography and film, the migration of material culture —the crafts and the stories.
The purpose of this blog is to collect my work and publications and to promote understanding. The blog documents visual and material culture, traditional crafts, exploration, travel through observation and research. The majority of articles focus on the cultural heritage. A variety of subjects about Egypt and Nigeria, Syria, Togo, and Republic of Benin, which are found under ‘Articles’. Journey along the Silk Road from from China through Central Asia and the Middle East and follow craft migration along the trans-Saharan routes across North and West Africa.
Since 2015, I have been involved in documentation of traditional crafts in Nupeland (Bida, Nigeria), specifically my research focuses on the Masaga glass workers traditions (see Rituals, Religious practices, and glass/glass bead making in Ile-Ife and Bida, Nigeria) and producing raw glass known as bikini glass. The documentary, The Lost Legacy of Bida Bikini, is a culmination of 6 years of research:
The British Museum link to the documentary can be found here:
In the summer of 2017, I realised my long-time dream to travel the Silk Road from China through Central Asia, researching the migration of traditional and material craft techniques and the fluidity of cultural migration between Africa, the Middle East and Asia. From Beijing through China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan in 2017 to exploring the lesser trade routes and more of Central Asia and China in 2018, my travels took me through the Pamir Highway of Tajikistan to Kyrgyzstan and over the Torugart Pass to Kashgar, China and Xinjiang Province along the Taklamakan Desert and exploring Qinghai Province, Gansu Province, and Tibet Autonomous region in China. Along with extensive travel throughout North Africa and West Africa, I continue my study of the movement of people, ideas, and technology over the centuries on the trans-Saharan and Silk Road trade routes.
Pamir Highway, Ak-Baital Pass, Tajikistan 2018
Indigo and the Durbar (Obelisque Publications, 2019).
Between Two Rivers: Bida, City of the Nupe. (Obelisque Publications, 2019).
Field Guide to the Street Names of Central Cairo. Co-Author: Humphrey Davies. (AUC Press, 2018).
Cairo: The Practical Guide (AUC Press,17th edition, 2012).
Cairo: The Family Guide (AUC Press, 4th Edition, 2010).
Cairo’s Street Stories:Exploring the City’s Statues, Squares, Bridges, Gardens, and Sidewalk Cafés (AUC Press, 2008).
Bahgory Legacy (Obelisque Publications, 2013);
Silent No More Special Needs People in Egypt(AUC Press, 2002);
Paddle Your Own Canoe An American Woman’s Passage Into Nigeria (Spectrum Books, 1997).
Rituals, Religious practices, and glass/glass bead making in Ile-Ife and Bida, Nigeria, Endangered Material Knowledge Program, British Museum:
Obelisque Magazine (search under drop down menu)
Horus, Turath, Valerie Magazine and various other Egyptian publications
Review for The Field Guide to the Street Names of Central Cairo: What’s in a name? Al Ahram Weekly , Jan 25, 2019
Daily Trust, Abuja, Nigeria, May 2022, “How I opened Bida Glass Works to International Community”
Interview by Olatoun Gabi-Williams of Borders, Literature for All Nations
Read interview, here
Exhibitions and Conference
Inheriting the City Advancing Understanding in Urban Heritage, Taipei,Taiwan, organised by Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage, University of Birmingham, April 2016.: City Walks: Another Perspective for Narrating the History of the City – Cairo, Egypt. See: https://nomad4now.com/2016/04/11/conference-inheriting-the-city/ and https://nomad4now.com/2017/02/23/announcement-lecture-at-megawra-february-28-2017/
Bling Bling Exhibition March 2019: Bida Glass at MuséoParc Alésia, France
This blog would not have been possible without the suggestion, mentoring, advice, direction and generous time of Ingrid Wassmann at AUC Press. Many thanks, Ingrid.
Pictures and photographs in this blog are solely my photography unless otherwise noted. Photographs, articles, and poetry are the intellectual property of Lesley Lababidi and protected under international copyright law.
All rights reserved by Lesley Lababidi. To copy or re-produce photography and/or writings, written permission from Lesley Lababidi is required.