Week 8: Hend Kheera and the Rise of the Revolution

This week I chose to focus once again on the Egyptian art scene, specifically through the eyes of women. For this, I choose another graffiti artist, Hend Kheera, a 33 year old woman who was born in Cairo. Kheera’s work became a source of popularity in 2011, after the initial uprisings due to some of her blatant and thought provoking art. The first artifact I chose was an article from Rolling Stone magazine, titled “The Writings on the Wall,” by Michael Downey, which was also largely an interview with Kheera. In this article, Kheera talks about how she feels that graffiti is able to exploit the injustices of the government more explicitly than the media does, because graffiti cannot be ignored by people. She talks about how she feels strongly enough about her work to risk being arrested. The main focus of the particular artwork is the graffiti of “Don’t touch or castration awaits you,” a piece that she did in support of Samira Ibrahim, a woman who was strip-searched by the military and then took them to court but did not win. The second post was an article discussing an art gallery titled, “‘This Is Not Graffiti’: Street artists take their art indoors” written by Steven Viney. Viney explores the multiple artists and their art work in this piece and what the pieces meant to the artists he could talk to. One of the artists that was in the exhibit was Kheera who made an art piece of Jesus protesting with a blank sign about to get run over by a tank. He remarks that the art piece is met with “confusion to horror to chuckles” as people try to place the exact meaning of her art.

I focused on Hend Kheera because, as the weeks have begun to pass, I’ve noticed that I am most engaged with the idea of women and their role in the revolution. While many of their male counterparts (Banksy, Sad Panda, Ganzeer…) have earned worldwide acclaim, the women and their role in the revolution as artists has been more subtle but equally dynamic to what’s happened in Egypt. I think Kheera focuses largely on a cosmopolitan view on the revolution, because her artwork is used to engender discussion and critical thinking.

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