Public Space

Revolutionary Street Art: Complicating the Discourse

Revolutionary Street Art: Complicating the Discourse

[Image from Hossam El-Hamalawy] by Hannah Elansary Sept 01 2014 The graffiti and street art of revolutionary Egypt have been researched many times over by now.Journalists and scholars have explored the phenomenon in its many aspects—as evolving visual text, as political rhetoric and as an act of protest in its own right. The claims about the protest street art and graffiti that have proliferated across public Egyptian walls since 2011 have been many, and include: the spread of revolutionary graffiti in Egypt was a sign and act of citizens reclaiming public space from the regime; street art worked to raise awareness and build community and solidarity among people; street art served as a tool by which citizens could (re)claim agency, assert identity, and create their own historical narratives.
Egypt’s nascent street art movement under pressure

Egypt’s nascent street art movement under pressure

Street art from Mohamed Mahmoud Street, Cairo. (Photo: Melody Patry/Index on Censorship) Graffiti artists face threats of violence, and the potential of jail time and fines under a proposed draft law By Shahira Amin / 22 August, 2014 Before the January 2011 uprising, street art was little known in Egypt. Then came the revolution and with it, an outburst of creativity. With the fall of the authoritarian regime of Hosni Mubarak, Egyptian artists who had routinely faced censorship restrictions under his autocratic rule, felt a strong urge to break out of the confines of their studios and reclaim public spaces.