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
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
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.
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.
The name started as a joke (as did Suzee in the City) but I figured that I should start a travel blog since I travel every time I make enough money to get me out of Cairo – which is necessary therapy, trust me.
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.
Having stalked them, befriended them and followed them around like an overenthusiastic puppy for the past six months, I think I’ve sort of figured out the mentality of certain graffiti artists in Cairo.
This really cool tumblr was sent to me by Hashem Kelesh via twitter. One Year Project is an experimental project by three very talented Egyptian artists, Moe Al Hussainy, Islam Shabana, and Hashem Kelesh, where they photograph themselves each day and send the photos to each other.
So a little revolution happened. The streets filled up, people yelled, a tyrant was dethroned and the world media fixated on Egypt’s younger generation, saying nice (though patronizing) things about us for once.
One of the things that we Egyptians have in common with Syrians is our democratically elected rulers’ penchant for killing their own people – only Syria’s Bashar El Assad has thrown caution (and chummy relations with the morally conscious Western governments) to the wind by attempting to wipe out all of the people who don’t like him.
The walls of the Mogamaa are filled with protest graffiti. There’s rarely an empty space left between the large and colourful murals by HK, the witty caricature-like pieces by Hosny and the stencils by El Teneen, Sad Panda and many anonymous artists. Continue reading Protest Graffiti in Tahrir – The Mogamaa
His car stinks of spray cans. The back seat is filled with enough aerosol cans to make a pyromaniac weep with joy. If he were ever stopped and searched by the police, he’d have a field day explaining the bottles, posters, surgical gloves and tape. Continue reading An Evening on The Streets With Keizer
I think I prefer the streets of Cairo to its people. After the hours of fuming traffic and deafening horns, hostile faces watching and asking questions, I’m finally left in peace after midnight, standing on an empty side street under the orange lamplight, photographing new pieces of graffiti. Continue reading New Graffiti in Cairo – Nighttime Stalking