Week 7: The Graffiti from Aya Tarek

This week, I took my exploration of the street art in Egypt into the focus of one particular woman artist: Aya Tarek. Tarek is a 24 year old Alexandrian woman who’s work focuses on exploring urban communication and the meaning of the revolution. The first artifact I choose was a video (“Words of Women from the Egyptian Revolution: Aya Tarek“) which was a monologue of her speaking about how she found herself in the midst of the graffiti scene during the revolution. She explain how she had originally wanted to be in galleries, but overtime, realized that the institution required long explanations and meanings and had certain expectations of artists that she did not feel comfortable with and thus, she turned towards street art. The street art during the revolution, she explains, changed and she talks about how she felt that the value of graffiti was lost because the meaning was being covered explicitly. However, she also felt that the graffiti was able to fuel the fire of anarchy against a government that she feels does not understand pacifism. She speaks of how it feels to be a woman in the revolution and how her role as a woman has made her understand humanism and what it meant to be a person in the revolution. In the second artifact, an article titled “Aya Tarek: For Art’s Sake” written by Joana Saba, it also discusses how Tarek came into her own as political artist and person. Harkening back to her childhood days, Tarek talks about how she gained inspiration for her art from the city around her grandfather’s studio (he was an artist too). After growing up and producing her own work by attending university, Tarek came into her own and she felt unconstricted by the institutions that made art into work. This ended up propelling her into street art where she learned that politics and her work would be tied together. After years of fighting against those labels though, Tarek has realized that her work has changed Egypt and continues to make art for revolutionary reasons.

I choose these two artifacts because I felt like it corresponded with the issue of gender that we had this week. I feel like Tarek would side with Marcia Greenberg in the idea of whether or not the United States should promote Women’s Rights abroad. Tarek is a strong advocate for women’s rights, but she also strongly believes that people should fight for human rights instead of thinking of womanhood, because otherwise people will also only discriminate against you as a woman and distinguish you as one. I felt that Tarek’s view on politics had much to with Cosmopolitanism because she talked about how she felt that the people had to network together to align their goals and revolutionize their governmental system.

One thought on “Week 7: The Graffiti from Aya Tarek

  1. This is really cool that her and other women are taking a stand against rape and violence and abuse of women in the Middle East that isn’t usually ever brought to justice. Shows just how fearless she is. & the fact that women are so fed up with these terrible practices

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