the wonder box/sandok el 3agab

Participating Artists

the wonder box/sandok el 3agab

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the wonder box/sandok el 3agab

From January 2014 to April 2014

A long time before the invention of the television and the cinema, story tellers used to wander the streets of Egypt, carrying a “Sandok El Donia” (which translated to “box of the world”) and calling children with their melodic voices and rhythmic words:  “Approach, come closer… watch closer…the world box arrived!” The children of the neighborhood recognized the storyteller’s voice and rushed to the streets; impatient to hear his stories and to watch through the small holes of the magical wooden box.

With the project “Sandok El Donia”, Mahatat brought back this old tradition of storytelling to life in a contemporary manner. Nine artists from different artistic disciplines, including Concept Director Aida El Kashef, gathered together to create two new designs for the boxes, accompanied by stories and music inspired by Cairo’s taxi and tuktuk drivers. The aim was to bring back the old magic of the Wonder Box in a contemporary form in which new technologies were used, such as interactive art, animation, projection mapping, among others. The dedicated artists worked continuously for three months to gather stories from taxi and tuktuk drivers, to research new techniques and to test the feasibility of integrating various visual tricks into the boxes. The Wonder Box drew the attention of about 1500 people across a total of eleven performances in different neighborhoods, notably Bin el-Serayat, Manial, Ezbet Kairallah, Shoubra, Misr al-Jadida, Zamalek and outside Egypt as well, in Germany.

Check out the publication on how to make your own here:


  • Aida El Kashef
  • Yasmin El Ayat
  • Manar Morsi
  • Mohamed Hassan
  • Ahmed Mostafa
  • Laila Sami
  • Abdallah Abozeky
  • Shadi el-Hosseiny
  • Maya Goweily
  • Youssif Faltas

Project Partners

Office for International Cooperation, Embassy of Switzerland


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