No matter how seasoned and jaded you are, it’s always a shock to see the ultimate Egyptian symbol of violence and oppression – the police state- on a pair of naked legs or on the back of a dirty, sodden toilet in a decrepit room. But that’s exact what 7orreya does. Continue reading 7orreya: Graffiti Exhibition on Freedom of Expression in Cairo
At some point, it seemed realistic to aspire to live with dignity in Egypt. Now, two years on and with thousands of Egyptians dead, the right to live now depends on who’s side you’re on; us or theirs. Death is acceptable if you’re not with us. Continue reading Belal Ali Saber: Graffiti by Ammar Abo Bakr and El Zeft
It feels like I keep writing the same post over and over again: images of sexual harassment, police violence, military violence, more martyrs, young martyrs, poems and tributes to martyrs, satire against Morsi, against religious and political hypocricy, against censorship and in support of freedom of speech. Continue reading Street Art and Morsi – Cairo Artists Continue the Fight
It’s not every day that total amateurs get the chance to make a video for a contemporary art museum, but that’s exactly what happened to me when Jeffrey Deitch, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, emailed me out of the blue to ask if I wanted to make a video about graffiti in Cairo for the museum’s new Youtube Channel called MOCA TV. Continue reading Art in The Streets: Videos on Beirut, Palestine, Tripoli and Cairo for MOCATV
It’s a battle, being a woman in an Arab country, but perhaps the dire conditions makes us fighters. Since January 25, so many foreign reporters have waxed on about the awakening of Arab women in the Arab Spring; and how the revolutions liberated us/made us wake up and smell the coffee/made us throw off our headscarves and run happily through the meadows.
It was my first time to walk through Tahrir after three months away from Egypt, and I don’t quite know why I was so bewildered and shell-shocked. Perhaps it was the heaviness of the atmosphere in the square, the squalid tents and crowds of resilient protesters holding onto the last threads of dying hope. Continue reading Return to Tahrir: Two Years and Graffiti of the Martyrs
The past two years have given good exposure to the Egyptian street art scene. With increasing international media focus on graffiti artists – I’ve lost count of the number of print articles, news shorts and documentaries made – comes increasing interest on the part of foreign delegations looking to support and endorse the Egyptian art scene, as well as books and films that will hopefully strengthen the graffiti scene’s legitimacy in Egypt.
This article was originally published in The National on August 18. I’ve republished it here to include some of my favourite images of graffiti over the past 20 months.
A street artist once told me: “Graffiti is the one tangible thing we have gained from the revolution,” and I agree with him.
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.
If this post comes across as offensive, arrogant or downright nasty to anyone, I apologise in advance; I literally woke up on the wrong side of bed and pulled a shoulder, so I’m cranky; plus this matter has been on my mind for several months now.
Mural by Shaza Khaled and Aliaa El Tayeb, who studied at the Luxor Faculty of Fine Arts. The mural is inspired by a photo-shopped image of a protester in Greece dancing with a ballerina.
A funny thing happened outside the AUC on Mohamed Mahmoud Street last Thursday. As a group of onlookers, including journalists, photographers, documentary makers and myself, watched Ammar Abo Bakr, Alaa Awad and several other artists diligently work away on a mural of the martyrs of the Port Said massacre – a mural they’ve spent almost two weeks painting – a shuttle bus pulled up at the AUC gate and unloaded a group of foreigners in suits, presumably for a conference inside the AUC campus.