The Presidential Elections – Revolutionary Graffiti Continues

Eighteen months on, their names are forgotten. They’ve become numbers, over a thousand people who died bravely and innocently, shot dead, electrocuted, beaten and tortured by police and soldiers who – 18 months later – are either found innocent or were never there in the first place, due to lack of evidence. Because photographs, videos, testimonies and countless reports by human rights groups don’t count. It must have been Hammas.

In recent months, the Mohamed Mahmoud mural became a celebrated museum, a glorified and glamorised manifestation of the Port Said martyrs’ faces and memories. Much has been written, photographed, exhibited, lectured and filmed, and the artists who made the mural weren’t happy with the change in tides.

When I heard that Ammar Abo Bakr and co were painting over the mural to write ‘Forget what has passed and focus on the elections instead’ I had a gut reaction of emotional outrage. Like many others, the mural to me was a personal, beautiful work of art that I hoped would somehow be preserved to remind us all of what – and whom- we’d lost.

Forget what has passed

And focus on the elections

Then I met Ammar at the wall at midnight, and he told me of his disdain towards the election process, towards the very institution that had benefited greatly from the mural (that’s you, AUC), towards the public’s distraction by the ongoing mess of the presidential elections, while the real cause of the mural, the loss of life during the revolution and for the revolution, had been cast aside.

Returning days later to see the mural in its near completed glory, I was completely enthralled by the biting sarcasm of the statement, by the haunting beauty of the mothers’ faces. Ammar told me that no artists would dare to paint over their mural, so they decided to do it themselves, vandalising their own work, adding a very poignant layer to the many layers of this history on the wall.

The puppets and the puppeteer, a mural by Ahmed El Masry, IAhmed Abdallah, Saiko Manio and KIM

Shortly after government workers painted over the mural, a new one appeared. Note how the faces of the Ikhwan candidate and SCAF are painted over

The new layer repaints the original puppeteers with Shafiq and Morsi’s faces. Note how Morsi’s face has been blacked out.

Right next to the martyrs’ mural, a piece by streets  Ahmed Al Masry, IAhmed Abdallah, KIM and Saiko has had an interesting evolution. Days before the elections, baladeya people were sent out to paint the corner of Kasr El Eini and Mohamed Mahmoud (leaving the AUC wall untouched), removing the excellent mural of politicians being controlled by SCAF. Almost immediately, a different artist painted an Ikhwan candidate on one side and SCAF, presumably Tantawi, on the other. I was lucky enough to photograph a girl posing with her finger stuck into the MB’s nose. Days later, the group of artists presumably returned, this time making presidential candidates Shafiq and Morsi the puppets.

Political and election-related graffiti has popped up all over Cairo, with campaign graffiti for and against the presidential candidates, including Hamdeen Sabbahi, Ahmed Shafiq, Khaled Ali and (several months ago) Salafi candidate Hazem Abo Ismail.

Street art is still relevant and still thriving, even if the glitter and fascination has faded for many. As long as this mess of politics continues, and the people are neither appeased or vindicated for the suffering of thirty years plus one hell of a year, graffiti will continue.

Saad Zaghloul gives the finger, also by Saiko Manio, IAhmed Abdallah and Ahmed Al Masry

The stencil indicates that whoever our next president will be on 30 June will still be governed by SCAF

Why? a simple mural on Mohamed Mahmoud wall

The faces of our most famous martyrs with the locations/dates of their deaths instead of their names, such as Ahmed Bassiony on the Friday of Wrath, Anas in Port Said and Sheikh Emad Effat in Magles El Shaab

My favourite stencil: Justice has been made into a belly dancer, wearing a military beret and a moustache

A beautiful tribute to protesters hurling tear gas cannisters, by Hossam Shukrallah

This incomplete mural on the AUC greek campus carries the word ‘Maspiro’. I think the doves represent the martyrs of Maspiro.

By Mohamed El Moshir, Zeftawi, Laila Magued and co.

Political zombies eating a woman’s corpse, including SCAF and an Ikhwan politician

Khaled Ali’s promotional graffiti for his presidential campaign

‘He who delegates, never dies’ a very loose translation: Mubarak’s face is matched with Tantawi, Moussa and Shafiq, the remnants of the former regime

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About Suzee in The City

Eat.Play.Love This City. Follow me on http://twitter.com/suzeeinthecity
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26 Responses to The Presidential Elections – Revolutionary Graffiti Continues

  1. Mugoo says:

    Awesome as usual

  2. quandlm says:

    Reblogged this on quandLM and commented:
    Communication sauvage, quel plaisir !

  3. catrionakn says:

    I love your interpretations and stories around the changes in these pictures. I especially like the documentation of the same piece, with additions. I (personally) am glad the conversation continues on the walls and that it is not preserved, I like to see it changing and the different layers and voices that come through.

  4. Angie says:

    the one you tagged as alaa, is actually the work of mahmoud yakout–a simple painter who got his kids and their friends to help him out. the mural was completed and the morning after cement was thrown all over it. the entire mural is a representation of our current state of affairs, depicting the beginning to how we got here.

  5. Hany says:

    Beautiful ….

  6. Haunting. Thank you for sharing this – a piece of the world that I have been ignorant about. The image of justice as a belly dancer really struck me also…

  7. Such power in these works of art — words alone could not convey this type of emotion. Beautiful…haunting…sad…

  8. amoonfull says:

    great post. thanks for sharing. what a depiction. i, too, like the layers of graffiti… change is always needed… regardless of how true and resonating the previous art work was, there will always be a need for evolution. realities change, more inspiration is fueled and a new era begins.

  9. NomadSage says:

    Wonderful photos. I especially enjoyed the fact that the artists “vandalized” or at least, shall we say, painted over, their own work. Many of these guys seem quite talented to boot.

  10. Rem Lee says:

    Awesome art. I wonder, how much time do they spent on one of these, for instance the 1st image, without getting the attention of the authorities. Or are they not too harsh vs graffiti over there?

  11. calleynelson says:

    This is all very moving. It is very interesting on how people wish to brush past the hard times and heart breaks of a country with an upcoming election. Sadly, this is isn’t just happening in Egypt right now. Reblogging.

  12. siltsaltsand says:

    This is a truly superb piece. Is there much of a tradition of apolitical graffiti? I’ve seen the streets of Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Vienna all decked out in spray paint, and though political issues sometimes play a part, it always seemed secondary to the artist’s expression.

    Keep uploading new photos!

  13. Wonderful, and congrats on being freshly pressed.

  14. futjah says:

    damn it, thats awesome

  15. cecetalks says:

    inspiring, and a blog beautifully done

  16. What an incredible way to protest!

  17. ASUS TF700 says:

    Great Photos, but the “awesome” and “wonderful” comments do not do the underlying message justice. Thank you for sharing

  18. sarashouse says:

    These are so powerful and moving!

  19. lukemcclean says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this, makes me think of the cartoonist Ali Farzat who had his hands broken under the tortuous Syrian regime after his amazing cartoons were published. Keep up the posts.

  20. The city is writing his history on his own walls. Very moving.

  21. Pingback: Revolutionary Grafitti in Cairo « POL 297 | The Arab Spring

  22. sascha says:

    dont stop doing!!! writing for fredoom greatings from hannover germany! your are agreat artist and and strong nice women really!!!im also a grafiiti artits and im following the things that going on in egypt… thats noting nice i hope that the mankind will winn !!! we are always on your site fight for right to fredomm and theart says more then thausands of bombs!!!
    dsdcrew hannover germany in lower saxony!

  23. sascha says:

    sorry i forgot have noticed you by a tv dokumentation to night her in germann tv !!! fredomm for all and good luck lady!!!! your friends Die Sind Durch we have so many names but thats what you and your friends ar doing i hope its going to a goal spray molotow is not only a can stay healty it was nearly wenn you and your friends comming to hannover and we cann make a big wall if you can.
    so greats and stay tight
    we are won world of ….
    bye sushi

  24. sascha says:

    take care of you and your folks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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