Cairo Street Art – Downtown Graffiti

Mickey, Bush & the Bomb by Keizer

Mickey, Bush & the Bomb by Keizer

‘Excuse me,’ he walks up to me as I hesitantly put my camera down, ‘What does this picture mean?’

He points at the Keizer stencil of Mickey Mouse on the grey wall. Mahmoud Bassiouny Street on a Saturday afternoon is crowded, and people seem still wary of any snap-happy camera-toting thug like me. Who knows, I could be another Facebook-loving Zionist spy.

‘I think that’s Mickey Mouse,’ I say helpfully.

‘Yes but what does it mean? And who is that man next to him?’

He’s bald with a graying walrus moustache, probably in his mid-forties, his full cheeks sweating as he fans at his pin-striped pink shirt.

‘I’m not quite sure,’ I say politely, wishing I could go back to my camera, but he appears adamant for an answer. ‘Maybe it’s a president? It could be George Bush.’

‘Yes but what is George Bush doing with Mickey Mouse? I like this picture, I walk past it every day, but I wish there’d be some writing explaining it so that I could understand.’

How do I explain dichotomy or irony in Arabic? My mind goes blank.

‘Err… maybe the guy who made this wants you to think about it and come up with your own idea?’ I offer weakly.

He seems even more baffled. ‘Well I don’t want to figure it out myself, it’s much easier if he just tells me what it means so I know what to think.’

I ponder on whether I should bring up the whole we-lived-under-a-dictatorship-that-told-us-what-to-think-for-thirty-years-arent-you-happy-to-think-for-yourself-for-once theory, but I don’t. I’d rather move on, plus something about his walrus moustache makes him look like an NDP fan. Yes, I’m racist like that. I judge your political affiliation by your facial hair.

‘I mean it’s nice and everything,’ he continues eagerly, ‘But not as nice as the beautiful flags they paint everywhere, so pretty. You know, I was in Tahrir every day, I was one of the shabab of the revolution…’

Ah yes. The most overused line that launches every conversation since January 25th. Somehow I get stuck between a man and the wall I want to photograph as he talks for a full twenty minutes without interruption about Tahrir, Alaa Aswany, what he thinks of Baradei, the elections, the Muslim Brotherhood, yadayada, while I check my phone, make coughing noises, fiddle with my camera lense, shift from one foot to another, check my phone again. Eventually, he offers me his phone number and I politely say goodbye.

The camera never leaves my protective hands, held up against my chest like ammunition, pointing directly at him.

Snow White with a Gun by Keizer on Mahmoud Bassiouny Street

Snow White with a Gun by Keizer on Mahmoud Bassiouny Street

Atom by Keizer on Mahmoud Bassiony Street

Atom by Keizer on Mahmoud Bassiony Street

Kill Your Television by Keizer

Kill Your Television by Keizer

You Are Beautiful by Keizer on Mahmoud Bassiony Street

You Are Beautiful by Keizer on Mahmoud Bassiony Street

Graffiti by Charles Akl and Amr Gamal

Graffiti by Charles Akl and Amr Gamal

Graffiti of Amr Beheiry, imprisoned protester, on electricity box off Mahmoud Bassiony Street.

Graffiti of Amr Beheiry, imprisoned protester, on electricity box off Mahmoud Bassiony Street.

Veiled & unveiled women with halos and mouth masks. I'd love to know who made this.

Veiled & unveiled women with halos and mouth masks. I’d love to know who made this.

Tantawi by El Teneen

Tantawi by El Teneen

May 27th Molotov Cocktail by El Teneen on Kasr El Nil

May 27th Molotov Cocktail by El Teneen on Kasr El Nil

Uprising against the Army by El Teneen, note the crescent and the cross on the hand.

Uprising against the Army by El Teneen, note the crescent and the cross on the hand.

Sad Panda with an AK47 on wall of El Horreya

Sad Panda with an AK47 on wall of El Horreya

On the wall of a public bathroom on Abdel Salam Aref across from El Horreya, Sad Panda sits next to a graffiti stencil by Xist of Amr Beheiry, imprisoned Tahrir protester

    Martyr Mural by Ganzeer of Islam Raafat, 18 yrs old, run over by microbus during protest on Jan 28.

    Tantawi Underwear with helicopters by Adham Bakry, appropriately above trash

Tantawi Underwear with helicopters by Adham Bakry, appropriately above trash

Mr. X  (note the scribbles Mortada Mansour the Crazy) on AUC wall, Yousef El Guindy Street.

Chess Mate by El Teneen

Chess Mate by El Teneen

Mural by Hany Khaled with a poster by Mohamed Alaa

Mural by Hany Khaled with a poster by Mohamed Alaa

In the name of Egypt

For exact locations of graffiti in Cairo, check out the Cairo Street Art Map.

About these ads

About Suzee in The City

Eat.Play.Love This City. Follow me on http://twitter.com/suzeeinthecity
This entry was posted in Street Art Fascination and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Cairo Street Art – Downtown Graffiti

  1. Pingback: Suzeeinthecity: Cairo Street Art- Downtown Cairo | Diary of A DeskGirl in Cairo

  2. Teneen says:

    I don’t see the crescent and cross on the hand-tank piece :)

  3. Pingback: Cairo Street Art @ Old AUC Campus | Art, Creativity, Culture, Egypt, Inspiration | Arab Stands

  4. Teneen says:

    some sectarian subconscious shit

  5. Pingback: Amazingly Cool Post-Revolution Cairo Street Art – Downtown Graffiti | Art, Creativity, Culture, Egypt, Entertainment, Featured, Inspiration | Arab Stands

  6. Pingback: Art – An Afternoon With the Sad Egyptian Panda (PICTURES) | Art, Creativity, Culture, Egypt, Entertainment, Featured | Arab Stands

  7. LA Aaron says:

    Great post of art work. Long live the walls of the people !!!

  8. bth says:

    just to let you know, snowwhite with the gun is used in germany and other countrys as a symbol to protest against lookism and stuff like that (http://alturl.com/iekcz).

    i don’t know if it’s intended by the artist, but just to complete your input

    greetings and thanks blogging

  9. Pingback: Egyptian Graffiti and Gender Politics: An Interview with Soraya Moreyef – Africa is a Country

  10. Graffiti Art says:

    This is in line with my research and the website is Awesome with info.Good work!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s