Polish sculptor Marius Dybich, also known as Mario puts final touches on his latest creations.
Biblical scenes carved out of rocky Mokkatam hill on the seven caves of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Cairo, Egypt.
“Mokkatam”, originates from the sculptor’s first work, which represents the story of the miracle of Simon, the tanner who moved the hill of Mokkatam in the 10th century, to prove strength of the Christian faith.
A long and arduous task which took this Polish artist more than two decades to carve.
“Saint Simon encouraged me to do the sculpture work. I never thought I’d have talent and it’s not something I planned. It wasn’t even related to my studies or my work. I think God gave me this talent for sculpture. I was so young when I started, I was 18. I wanted to do something that would bring me closer to God”, he said.
In his 23 years in Egypt, Mario will have made about 70 works. A feat for this 51-year-old man, who had no experience in sculpturing at the time.
Married to an Egyptian woman, the artist still does not have Egyptian nationality. Yet, he cannot imagine living anywhere else than in Cairo, the adopted country where he has forged close friendships and shared unique experiences.
“As I have already said, I feel so welcome in Egypt and I don’t need to be an Egyptian national to feel part of it. I have not yet had the chance to obtain citizenship because the law does not allow me to obtain it even if my wife is Egyptian”, Mario added.
On the walls of the vast cave, which can accommodate up to 20,000 people for mass religious gatherings, the artist’s works preach the gospel.
Mario said “our message is to make people understand that we do not carve statues to worship. We tell the story through biblical art. It’s like an artistic language, like the pharaohs when they told stories through their drawings.”
In addition to sculpture, Mario gives acrobatic lessons on strings suspended at the monastery.