I’ve noticed street art in Cairo since my last visit in October ’09. It’s refreshing to see such art that is accessible to the public, rather than being hidden in some commercial gallery. Galleries probably don’t want to show work that is so political, if they want to sell that is.
I come to Egypt in search of inspiration and local talent, and it hasn’t failed me once. People here are so passionate about what they believe in, and I can hear it and see it wherever I go. I’ve taken a few pictures of some street art I’ve seen, and will keep posting if I come across more during my short stay. I’m sure I will. The first 5 photos were taken with my phone camera.
One street artist that has caught my attention is Keizer. His work made me stop in my tracks and I had to photograph it. Culture jamming on the streets of Cairo. Below is his work in addition to the work of other artists.
The poster below is what I found to be the most controversial one. It shows Lady Liberty wearing niqab and sleeves, and the Arabic title says “I am not free.” I’m still wondering what message the artist is conveying here. I don’t think he or she is saying that women who wear niqab are oppressed. It seems that someone did not like what they think this poster means, because they scratched over the niqab.
Last but not least, I saw the remains of a cut out I saw in a different area last year. I have a confession to make; I took a small piece from it. Can you blame me??
I couldn’t agree more with Suzee’s statement: “It’s not that street art never existed in Cairo before January 25th; it’s just that it never breathed this vibrantly before. ” Suzee has covered street art in Cairo wonderfully and accurately on her blog.
I’m also very grateful for photographer Themba Lewis‘s efforts in photographing street art in Cairo during the revolution, and providing very informative descriptions. Please check out her “Cairo Street Art” online gallery , and many more under “Revolution” on her website.
If you’d like to know where to find street art in Cairo, CairoStreetArt.com is a place to start. You can even add the location of street art you have seen. The creator of the page is Ganzeer, a.k.a Mohamed Fahmy, who was one of those arrested for distributing and putting up the poster below, “The Mask of Freedom.” It’s one of my favorites.
Ganzeer put together a Downloadable Revolutionary Stencil-Booklet in PDF format. Yes, YOU CAN DOWNLOAD IT! Simply print out the one you’d like to use, get a cutting board or cardboard, and use a cutter to cut on the lines. If you’ve never used a cutter before, take your time, practice makes perfect! I’ve started using it in 2006 and I still suck cause I’m impatient *grins*.
A voice in my head wants me to leave my mark on one of these walls. I will, even if just a handprint. I hope you found the work above as inspirational as I have. Try googling Jeddah Street Art. The image results is something I would like to change, and I’m sure there are many who are interested in giving the walls of Jeddah a voice. Egyptian artists have something I’d like to introduce to Saudi Arabia: unity. Even if one artist is working solo, all their efforts put together make something grand, like what we’re witnessing on many walls in Cairo. Those artists seem to be drinking, eating and breathing art, and I would like to eat their brains.
I do recall Yousef Alshaikh posting street art he saw in Riyadh. I wonder if there are more hiding somewhere in the city?
I also recall graphic designer and illustrator Sarah Al Abdali *Amishkatizing* Balad in Jeddah. I would love to see more. Please take the time to check out her work. She truly is one of a kind.
We should not leave the streets of Jeddah to advertisers. They do not represent us. It’s time to reclaim the streets of Jeddah!