Once again, graffiti has returned to the streets of Tahrir and the Mogama’ building as Egyptian demonstrators flooded back to the Square on November 19th. The street art covers layers of previous graffiti on the walls of Mohamed Mahmoud Street, only this time the tone is more sombre, calling for the freedom of jailed activists, commemorating those who lost their eyes or died during the November 19 protests, and denouncing the regime for the atrocities and injustice it is responsible for.
Graffiti is not meant to be permanent; but it is meant to produce a reaction, even if that reaction means removing it because it’s offensive, or an eyesore. However, when you’re a Faculty of Fine Arts in Cairo that teaches art, it’s a little strange that you remove the post-jan25 graffiti your students and friends have made on your walls, no?
After two months of seriously hard work, the exhibition ‘This Is Not Graffiti’ opened last night at Townhouse Gallery’s Factory Space in Downtown Cairo.
If you take graffiti off a street wall and put it inside a confined space, is it still graffiti? Does street art maintain its value when you remove the noise, the faces, and the life of the streets and put it on a safe wall?