Banksy on the Nile: Graffiti Art from the Egyptian Revolution

by The New Republic Staff | July 15, 2013

Since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak sent Egypt into turmoil in 2011, Egypt has been home to a street-art movement of unprecedented vitality. A living record of Egypt’s mercurial political situation, these murals have once again proliferated in the wake of the recent coup d’état. Mystical, angry, hopeful, irreverent—many draw inspiration from the art of ancient Egypt. For the last three years, scholars and artists Don Karl and Basma Handy have been working to record these images, which are sometimes gone almost as soon as they appear. The photos shown here are drawn from their forthcoming book, Walls of Freedom.

  • A mural mourning the deaths of over 70 people during a riot at a soccer match, February 2012. (Artist—Alaa Awad/Photographer—Ali Khaled)
  • Artists turned a wall constructed by the military to impede protesters into a graffitied optical illusion, May 2012. (Artists—Ammar Abou Bakr and Team/Photographer—Munir Sayegh)
  • Depicting former president Hosni Mubarak and his successor Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, and captioned "the one who delegates doesn’t die," this mural shows the artist's belief in Mubarak's lasting power, May 2012. (Artist—Omar Fathy/Photographer—JoAnna Pollonais)
  • A mural of protesters left blinded by a sniper, November 2011. (Artist—Ammar Abou Bakr/Photographer—Beshoy Fayez)
  • Military tanks stationed behind a wall painted with a smiley face, November 2012. (Artist—Zeft/Photographer—Amru Salahuddien)
  • A neglected metro station is repainted. (Artists—Amr Nazeer and Team/Photographer—Amr Nazeer)
  • A mural commenting on the rise of street art, October 2012. (Artist—Omar Fathy/Photographer—Hassan Emad Hassan)
  • The word "No" is written in various Arabic scripts to demonstrate the artist's opposition to military rule, November 2012. (Artist/Photographer—Bahia Shehab)
  • Graffiti from the walls surrounding Mohamed Mahmoud street near Tahrir Square, August 2012. (Artist—Ammar Abou Bakr/Photographer—Basma Hamdy)
  • Street art, February 2012. (Artist/Photographer—Zeft)
  • Titled "Reclaiming Egyptian Identity," this mural is meant to show the ties between the country's past and future, June 2013. (Artist—Ammar Abou Bakr, Sameh Ismail, Alaa Abdel-Hamid, and Ahmed Aboul-Hassan/Photographer—Basma Hamdy)
  • A mural invoking the rule of the state and the concept of freedom, May 2013. (Artist—Abood/Photographer—Basma Hamdy)



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