Ode to Alexandria – Where it all began

Inside the decrepit remains of a former malahy space, Azarita Corniche.

Inside the decrepit remains of a former malahy space, Azarita Corniche.

Definition of irony: I lived almost twenty years in Alexandria, but it was only after I moved to Cairo and started writing about graffiti that I found all threads leading me back home.

It seemed that everyone I spoke to about graffiti claimed that the movement was born in Alexandria in the early 2000s, with visual artists like Aya Tarek, Wensh (check out his behance gallery) and Amir Rizk cited as the pioneers.

Visiting home over three years, I came across a lot of fascinating street art, some of which were quite old (B.T.: Before Thawra) and experimental, more nuanced in their messages.

Smouha/Sidi Gaber, behind the train tracks.

Smouha/Sidi Gaber, behind the train tracks.

Like any homesick Alexandrian, I found myself driving along the corniche a lot, noting the architectural and visual changes, the disintegration of the sites of my nostalgia, be it the Dome of St. Marc School, the steps to Sayed Darwish’s house or the forlorn boat hulls next to Anfoushi’s fish market (the real fish market, not the Fish Market restaurant).

I came across this collection of street art by accident, in one case sneaking into the shell of a decrepit building by the sea, and finding the beautiful mural at the top of this blog post.

Twitter themed graffiti near the EGC.

Twitter themed graffiti near the EGC.

I won’t pretend that this is a comprehensive collection of Alexandrian street art, nor will I claim to know all the names of all the artists who made these pieces. I regret that I didn’t spend more time in Alexandria to document its street art; I have no grasp of what art I may have missed and was never documented. I regret that life took me away to Cairo when the hub of creative expression seemed to be brewing in Alexandria.

As my city falls deeper into a state of decrepit demise, with our heritage sites demolished and cultural icons neglected, I think of these photos as testament to the complexity, creativity and inspiration of Alexandria, but also perhaps, some proof of hope.

Smouha/Sidi Gaber area

Smouha/Sidi Gaber area

This is probably another collaborative project with foreign artists but I don't know any further information

This is probably another collaborative project with foreign artists but I don’t know any further information

Down with Khedive Ismail.

Down with Khedive Ismail.

Next to Zahran, Roushdy on the tram.

Next to Zahran, Roushdy on the tram.

Graffiti by Aya Tarek, Sultan Hussein.

Graffiti by Aya Tarek, Sultan Hussein.

graffiti by Tween

graffiti by Tween

Graffiti by Ma'Claim

Graffiti by Ma’Claim

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Vintage Kareem Gouda, Azarita corniche

Vintage Kareem Gouda, Azarita corniche

Part of the Woman on Walls project, made by Mona Lisa Brigade and others, Azarita corniche

Part of the Woman on Walls project, made by Mona Lisa Brigade and others, Azarita corniche

a different version of Banksy, across the equestrian club in Smouha

a different version of Banksy, across the equestrian club in Smouha

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graffiti by Aya Tarek

graffiti by Aya Tarek

alex tahrir 007

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The best spots for graffiti sightings are in Smouha behind the train tracks and across from the Equestrian club, on the Corniche after San Stefano bridge, in the back streets of the Faculty of Engineering and the EGC, the Officers’ Buildings on (Roushdy) Corniche, and of course, in the area of the Faculty of Fine Arts, Gleem on the tram.

For more photos of Alexandrian graffiti, please click here. Also, read Amro Ali’s piece about Alexandrian street art. Other published articles on Alexandrian street art include this piece, this article, this article¬†and this post.

PS: Ma’Claim returned to Alexandria in 2013 to make this fantastic graffiti on my school’s wall. I never got a chance to take a photo of the final product, but it made me very happy.

About Suzee in The City

Eat.Play.Love This City. Follow me on http://twitter.com/suzeeinthecity
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