Over the past semester, my diigo and blog postings have been focused around graffiti art in Egypt. After watching the square in class, I was inspired to do research on these amazing works of art. Graffiti art has always been present in Egypt. However with the eruption of the revolution and frustration of corrupt political regimes, graffiti art was a way of expressing their anger in a peaceful way. For this final blog post, I will discuss my artifacts throughout my research, the different perspectives of globalization relating to this topic, and my overall understand of the topic.
At the beginning of my research, I decided to introduce graffiti art and give perception of the stigma. Of course, government official believe that the art was considered to be inappropriate and vandalism. The Egyptian government viewed the constant tagging as a nuisance. However, the Egyptian people believe the art pieces represented their struggle and reflection on the revolution. One of the most famous artists is a man named Ganzer. He is extremely famous for creating multiple medias of graffiti art. One of most famous murals includes a tank with a sad panda holding a red balloon. This graphic is below in previous blog post. As more murals starting taking over the city, the public began to call the “Freedom Painters.” These “Freedom Painters” are the ones who are responsible for creating the different express of graffiti art in Egypt and Tunisa. Many of their painting include political figures, their view on the revolution, and a push for people to go vote in order for their voices to be heard. Additionally, their works of arts are called the “Walls of Freedom.”
The second portion of my research deals with the reaction of the government. At first, the government didn’t think so much into the paintings. However, once portraits and stencils of president started emerging, the government considered it a form of vandalism and a threat to the president. Because of this, the government decided to take matters into their own hand. Thus, they proposed a law to consider graffiti illegal. During my research, there wasn’t any clarification as to whether or not that the law was passed. However, in November 2013, the government banned “abusive graffiti” on buildings in Egypt, and organized government committees in cities to monitor political street art. If there were any violators to this measurement, they would be fined and arrested. Despite this being passed, the policy was extremely shady. In fact, Ganzeer as I have mention above, it considered a terrorist to the country under the muslim brotherhood! Of course, the public began riots stating that the walls mirrored the revolution. Personally, I believe that have this extreme form of censorship. The population is extremely large, and whether the walls are painted white, the artists will more than likely continue to paint them.
Most of my artifacts are new articles that date back to 2011 which was the beginning of the revolution. However, some pieces are analysis of the revolution. I also wanted to focus online galleries. I really wanted my audience to view different works of art. Hence, which why I also used a video for my presentation.
Looking at the many of the artists and painting themes such as liberty, freedom of expressions, and the use of social media. As I have mentioned before, the main purpose of the murals was to represent Egypt’s ongoing battle with limited freedom. Many of the artworks have hidden message behind their paintings. For example, one of Ganzeer’s famous painting includes a huge white tank in front a man riding a bicycle with a basket of goods above his head. The white tank represent the regime and the military. Placing the tank in front of what seems to be a normal civilian, represent that the regime is willing to go against their own people. Additionally, I feel that man on the bicycle represents every Egyptians dream. Their dream is the ability to move forward with their live and to be happy. While I was looking at many of the art pieces, I felt like you could connect with the injustice of the people, and they were able to represent that through their art. I think when the government was trying to censor the walls; they raised havoc because they wouldn’t be to express them anymore especially since they don’t even have the freedom of speech. One of the last themes that I did notice in my research is that the artist would use social media to gain attention to their artwork. I actually stumbled upon a facebook page that was specifically dedicated to street art. On the facebook page, there are different forms of art ranging from contemporary piece to contemporary art mixed with traditional Egypt symbols. By creating this facebook page, it could allow the spread of these painting to the entire world, giving attention to the realities of the Egyptian revolution.
From the different perspectives of globalization, I believe that many of the artists would consider themselves, radicals or market liberalism. Many of the protesters would often challenge the government and even other affiliations like the muslim brotherhood supporters. According to the book, Controversies in Globalization, “Radicals advocate a constant campaign of challenging globalization through public demonstrations and public education. They support viable alternative to globalization such as national self-reliance, more radical forms of democratic participation at all levels of governance, and greater cooperation among countries and groups in the global South.” Like we saw in The Square, many of the protesters would challenge the government for the opportunity to build a democracy in the Egypt. They would conduct peaceful demonstrations, educate the rest of the population, and release their emotions on their walls. Additionally, these protesters stay pure to their culture. Although times are changing, radicals believe that the culture of Egypt should be respected. In my research, I mostly focused on radicals, however, there could be some form of market liberalism in their protest. To prove my point, market liberals would advocate the use of force against groups that violently challenge globalization, such as political regimes or non state actors. Since the political regime was the main cause of the revolution, market liberals would argue that these could interfere with the flow of supplies into the country.
Conducting these blog posts throughout the semester, helped me understand the true meaning behind graffiti art and greater understanding of the perspective of globalizations. Graffiti art to the Egyptian people is considered a monument and their own personal diary of the revolution. Additionally, it represents their struggle and the realities of the protesting. In all honesty, I would often get the different perspective of globalization confused. However, focusing on just radicalism and market liberalism gave me an in-depth perspective. Now, if I were to compare to other global perspectives, I could automatically ruled with ones do not belong to radicals or market liberalism. Lastly, the people of Egypt demonstrate that they will to go through great lengths in order to get their voice and that is something I highly respect.