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Egyptian Revolution: Graffiti

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Alex Mitchell

on 30 April 2014

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Transcript of Egyptian Revolution: Graffiti

Why Graffiti?
The first forms of Graffiti were carvings in rocks and many examples can be found in Egypt from roughly 23,000 years ago.

Graffiti is historically politically charged. Examples of graffiti criticizing rulers can be found in ancient Pompeii and Athens, and more recently graffiti was prominent in protest during WW2.

Today graffiti is most recognized in Hip Hop culture as both street art and vandalism.

Graffiti as a medium represents everything the revolution stood for. Anyone can create street art, and everyone can see street art. Unlike the closed-door, secretive and corrupted Mubarak regime.

Messages found in Keizer, Gazeer, Nemo, and Ammar's works are at the core of the revolution. Themes like Anti capitalism, Anti Imperialism, abuse of power, vulnerability, awareness of corruption, rights of the poor, and public artistic expression.

Graffiti Art captures the message of the revolution in both it's content and delivery.

The art also helped bring the message of revolution to the world. Directly from the people revolting, drawing in a global audience to help bring about change.
Why Revolution?
Some Egyptian Graffiti Artists
"Nemo" is what his friends call him, not his given name

"I consider myself a media for the people!"
Ammar Abo Bakr worked at Luxor's Faculty of Fine Arts before taking his work to the streets due to his conviction that art belongs in public rather than private.

His style is mixed media murals that depict events from the Egyptian Revolution mixed with elements from Islamic and Coptic culture, folk art, and Egyptology.

He has done work in the walls of Luxor, Cairo, Frankfurt, Berlin, Amsterdam, and Brussels.

Angel-winged martyrs and eye patches are Ammar's trademarks.

His goal is to beautify the streets while giving them voice.
Keizer is the Pseudonym of an anonymous graffiti artist.

Known for wearing a hood.

About 33 years old.

His art is political in nature, but is also ambiguous and apolitical.

Artistic agenda of an Arabian nationalist; targeting capitalism and imperialism.

His artistic style is similar to Banksy and Shepard Fairey.

Keizer's website contains his art galleries showing much of his graffiti and information on his beliefs.

His website even has an option to contact this artist to ask questions or give comments.
Keizer's Personal Website
Hosni Mubarak
had been in power for
3 decades

Unemployment rates kept rising. Only 200,000 new jobs were created each year, whereas 700,000 new graduates entered the job market each year.

Mubarak's close ties to the U.S. made Egypt's government a puppet, controlled by exterior motives and not for the people.

The apparent corruption of government, growing unemployment and resulting growing poverty made for a powder keg of discontent citizens.

On January 25, 2011 Egypt finally spoke out.
The historical use of graffiti to question authority made it a natural choice.

Graffiti is on display to the everyday person in everyday life.

Graffiti is a very public message, a natural rebellion to the overly private and corrupted Egyptian Government.

The semi permanent nature of graffiti makes it ideal because the government has to actively paint over it in order to sensor it. The message stays out there longer.
Popularity in Revolution

Alex Mitchell, Megan Loman, Addy Forte,
Travis Ellingsen, Rob Bruton
"The whole point is that it’s up to you to think and make up your own conclusions ... And a lot of people here aren’t used to making their own conclusions — they’re used to being told what to think." [11]
Keizer Quotes
On His Use Of English...
It is "Definitely to attack the upper echelons of society" [11]
On His Use Of Stenciled Ants...
“The ant symbolizes the forgotten ones, the silenced, the nameless, those marginalized by capitalism. They are the working class, the common people, the colony that struggles and sacrifices blindly for the queen ant and her monarchy. Ants are devoted, dedicated workers, they cooperate, organize, delegate, and put themselves first in the line of danger and duty. Under appreciated and ruled, they receive and expect no reward for their efforts, toil and struggle..." [11]
Renowned worldwide for his work's message.

Uses opposing images of power and being vulnerable to give a message that opposes the government of Mubarak.

One of his images he uses a powerful tank aiming at a normal guy on a bike to give the message that the government is controlling the average person.

Another popular image by Gazeer is a flyer which he hung up all over Cairo. The flyer features a man wearing a mask that covers his eyes and gags his mouth and is titled "Mask of Freedom". By doing this Gazeer is saying that the government is telling the people they are free when in reality they are being controlled.
Ganzeer's Work...
21 years old and comes from Mansoura in North Egypt.

Inspired by street artists in the revolution and he had seen and began painting in 2008.

Likes to paint in busy areas so his art can be seen.

NeMo paints to create awareness of the corruption in the government, harassment of civilians and people living in poverty.

Uses many forms of social media (ie. facebook, twitter and youtube) to spread his message.

NeMo is still painting to this day.

Work Cited
Background Music
Rais Lebled (Head of Country)
By El Général
[1] Abo Bakr, Ammar. Angel wings and flowers. Digital image. Wordpress. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2014.<http://suzeeinthecity.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/1399136_662178127134707_430044837_o.jpg>.
[2] Abo Bakr, Ammar. Eyepatches. Digital image. SRF. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2014. <http://www.srf.ch/var/storage/images/auftritte/kultur/bilder/node_961114/5622782-2-ger-DE/bild_span12.jpg>.
[3] "Ammar Abo Bakr - RE-ALIGNED." REALIGNED. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2014. <http://www.re-aligned.net/ammar-abo-bakr/?lang=en>.
[4] Boeke, Frida. Ganzeer, politics and art in the public space. PoliticsMediArt, May 6, 2013. Web. 27 April 2014.
[5] El-Hamalawy, Hossam. "Egypt's Revolution Has Been 10 Years in the Making."Theguardian.com. Guardian News and Media, 02 Mar. 2011. Web. 29 Apr. 2014.
[6] "Gallery: Revolution Graffiti." Global. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2014. <http://www.foreignaffairs.com/gallery-revolution-graffiti2>.
[7] "Ganzeer, Politics and Art in the Public Space." PoliticsMediArt. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2014. <http://politicsmediart.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/ganzeer-politics-and-art-in-the-public-space/>.
[8] Green, Duncan. "What Caused the Revolution in Egypt?" Theguardian.com. Guardian News and Media, 17 Feb. 2011. Web. 29 Apr. 2014. <http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2011/feb/17/what-caused-egyptian-revolution>.
[9] Hellyer, H.A., and The Opinions Expressed in This Commentary Are Solely Those of H.A. Hellyer. "Egypt's Revolution on the Margins." CNN. Cable News Network, 25 Jan. 2014. Web. 29 Apr. 2014. <http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/25/opinion/hellyer-egypt-revolution-three-years-on/>.
[10] JAN 25 Egypt - Tahrir Square - Down Town_مصر ميدان التحرير وسط البلد 8م 25. YouTube. YouTube, 25 Jan. 2011. Web. 29 Apr. 2014.
[11] Keizer. "Wix.com Cairo Created by Keizerstreetart | Wix.com." Wix.com Cairo Created by Keizerstreetart. Create Your Own Cite For Free, n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2014.
[12] McDonald, Fiona. The Popular History of Graffiti: From the Ancient World to the Present. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.
[13] Mousa, Sarah. "Ammar Abo Bakr: Committing Murder, Then Marching in the Funeral Procession." Jadaliyya. Arab Studies Institute, 27 Jan. 2014. Web. 29 Apr. 2014. <http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/16192/ammar-abo-bakr_committing-murder-then-marching-in->.
[14] NeMo - Street Artist (EGYPT). "EYES" Graffiti on Mansoura Bridge , Egypt. NeMo, 23 Mar. 2013. Web. 24 Apr. 2014. <
[15] NeMo - Street Artist (EGYPT). NeMo - Street Artist (EGYPT). NeMo, 13 Feb. 2012. Web. 24 Apr. 2014. <
[16] "Street Art and Revolution: Interviewing Egypt's Nemo." Web log post.Blogspot.com. Street Art Global, n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2014.
[17] "The Egyptian Revolution as Seen through Graffiti." The Egyptian Revolution as Seen through Graffiti. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2014. <http://www.weeklyzaman.com/en/newsDetail_getNewsById.action?newsId=7484>.
[18] "Timeline: Egypt's Revolution." Al Jazeera English. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2014. <http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2011/01/201112515334871490.html>.
[19] Wikipedia. "Keizer (artist)." Wikipedia. Wikipedia, 26 Aug. 2013. Web. 20 Apr. 2014.
[20] Wolfgang Sterneck. Art for Change - Arabic Graffiti and Egyptian Street Art in Frankfurt. Digital image. Flickr. Yahoo!, n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2014. <https://www.flickr.com/photos/sterneck/7112370163/in/photostream/>.
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