The recent video game he created speaks to the country's many dangers. The game is a battle between man and camel. It conjures the infamous attack in February 2011 when riders on camels attacked anti-Mubarak protesters in Tahrir Square. The weapons of the men (protesters) in the game are Twitter birds; the camels' weapon is a sword.
"This is Egypt today," he said. "When we defeated Mubarak, another camel appeared in the form of military rulers. Then came the Brotherhood and Morsi. The more camels you kill, the more come. And the more men you kill, the more Twitter birds come. Nobody wins in my game."
Art and identity
Across the city, Adel pointed to the shards of wedding dress and charred divorce papers that surround a woman — again not fully revealed — in one of her photo montages. The dress and the papers are her own, depicting how constricted she felt not so many years ago as a young bride.
"I'm saying love and hate are in this marriage," she said. "My husband, only hours after we were married, wanted to choose my honeymoon clothes. He wanted to control what I wore. I was so surprised. This is not who he was before."
She paused and said: "Men want to put us in old picture frames."
Like many of her analogies, it was double-edged, as if she might offer it the young women around her to ease society's relentless pressure to shape themselves through tradition.
Adel, 29, and her husband eventually split up and she won custody of their young son. She taught applied art at Helwan University and in 2008 won a grand prize in a photography contest. She bought a new camera and focused on women. Her art took hold as the nation grew restive, leading to the uprising that toppled Mubarak.
She fears the Brotherhood and the Salafis for their air of piety and their lack of tolerance to words and images not conforming to their interpretations of the Koran.
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"It makes me very depressed. Sometimes I cannot work," she said. "We are divided in Egypt. The gap grows bigger every day … I feel so sad and strange in my country."
She reached up and fixed her head scarf, brown, neatly pinned, fitting her like a silken second skin. Her models show their hair, but she does not; this, she said, is her private contradiction. She began wearing hijabs as a girl, and now her identity — as much as her rage against customs that repress women — is as complicated and unresolved as her country.
"It became part of me. I feel naked without it," she said. "People expect that as an artist I should be unveiled, more 'presentable.' But if I take off my hijab because people want me to, that's another form of oppression. I would not be normal. I would be confused."
She glanced at her computer screen, small in her hand, full of women she has created with memories, anger and doubts.
"I'm not ready to take it off," she said. "I want my models to do what I cannot. They are mirrors to me."
Special correspondent Reem Abdellatif contributed to this report.