A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Mohamed Mahmoud Graffiti Walls Spark New Controversy

Back during the turmoil of the Egyptian Revolution in 2011 I posted several posts about revolutionary street graffiti in Cairo, especially the much-decorated walls of the American University's downtown campus along Mohamed Mahmoud Street. Now they're the subject of anew controversy. A group known as the Women on Walls Project, founded by Swedish journalist and photographer Mia Grondahl, author of a book on Cairo graffiti, aims to celebrate women and the struggle against harassment through street art. It's a worthy idea, but many revolutionary artists charge that in some cases revolutionary graffiti dedicated to those ho died in Mohamed Mahmoud Street in November 2011, and other memorials to the dead, are being painted over. They are also painting on adjacent Yusuf al-Gindy Street, where I once lived. Grondahl denies that intact graffiti are being painted over and defends the project to both Ahram Online and Daily News Egypt; both are illustrated.

Since I'm reliant on media and social media reports I can't claim to judge the facts from far away. I'd urge you to read the linked articles and judge for yourselves and will welcome comments from those on the ground.

Whatever the merits of the two sides, I'm sorry to see supporters of street art quarreling among themselves, when there are plenty of state institutions who'd paint it all over in a minute if AUC didn't provide a welcoming wall.

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