Egypt: Graffiti as a Revolutionary Art Tool

Since the revolution in Egypt began and ultimately toppled President Hosni Mubarak in January, graffiti has been the prime medium to express a new sense of freedom. Walls in Cairo have been transformed into canvases of street art, illustrating peace and civil liberties. Traditional or contemporary, these spray-can wielding artists use various forms, including stenciling, to produce their creations. However, the common theme of all the artwork is social media, which was at the forefront of the regional uprisings. The Townhouse Gallery realized the flourishing popularity of graffiti and recently dedicated an exhibition, titled "This is not Graffiti," to the unique art form. Meanwhile, Masterpeace, a grassroots group in Cairo, took this opportunity as a source of inspiration for a new campaign called "Cairo -- peace village" which encourages the safeguarding of revolutionary values. "In Tahrir we lived in peace for 18 days. We all sang and dreamed and danced and recited poetry for one goal. We want these values to be present in our daily lives so we decided on a week-long initiative to re-live that atmosphere. So everyone can take these values home for their society, for themselves, their neighbors and for the environment," said Ragdha el-Halawany, Masterpeace organizer. More than a hundred volunteers came together in the area of Dokki, in the capitol, to paint murals on the Ministry of Agriculture building, as part of the festival. "All initiatives have been liberated with the idea that so long as it is for the good of the cause then the decision can be taken instantly. And it didn't take us long to get approval for this event from the Governor. So we've been liberated from the bureaucratic, idiotic way of thinking which kept you in fear of several different agencies. This has all vanished and as long as those responsible know deep down that what you're doing is right, you can be assured that they will make the right decision," said Radi Ahmed Amin, local official in Dokki. Speakers: Raghda el-Halawany - Masterpeace organizer Radi Ahmed Amin - Dokki official By Noora Faraj Al Arabiya with Agencies

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