Post-revolution Art and Artists in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya

 Since early 2012 I am working on my new long-term project about art and artists who are inspired by the political, cultural and social changes after their respective uprisings. I’m curious to see how they deal with the massive changes in their countries. Can their art contribute to instigate change? What inspires them? Is there now less censorship? Or maybe a different type of censorship? Who are these artists or artivists as some peopel call them? How do they live and work? These are some of the questions that I’m trying to find answers to. A great creative urge is almost palpable.

Nadia Khiari, author of Willis from Tunis

©Claudia Wiens
Nadia Khiari, the author of Willis from Tunis, is drawing political cartoons every day.

 004_Ganzeer_The_Virus_is_spreading_byClaudiaWiens

© Claudia Wiens
Ganzeer is preparing his first big solo show “The Virus is spreading” in Safar Khan Gallery in Cairo

Graffitis and Murals in Egypt

© Claudia Wiens
This mural shows a martyr painted by Ganzeer.

EGYPT, CAIRO: Andeel is a cartoonist and caricaturist

© Claudia Wiens
Andeel is a cartoonist and caricaturist in Cairo

Tunisian Slam Group Kif Kif

© Claudia Wiens
Hatem Karoui (on this photo) and Sabri Mosbah are the slam group Kif Kif

053_Tunisia_Gabes_Chahine_Berriche_byClaudiaWiens

© Claudia Wiens
Tunisian artist Chahine Berriche was caught by the police while he and a friend where spraying slogans on the walls and are now facing a trial. He is part of a network called Zwewla, The Marginalised, who do art and activist work in the name of poor people. He did a documentary about the case against him. His father, Mondher Berriche, is his producer and helps him editing the film.

Egyptian Artist Mohamed Fahmy aka Ganzeer

© Claudia Wiens
Ammar Abu Bakr (right) is an artist who painted many murals along the wall of the AUC in Mohamed Mahmoud street in Cairo Downtown.

Graffitis and Murals in Egypt

© Claudia Wiens
One of Ammar Abu Bakr’s murals in Cairo.

Egyptian Artist Mohamed Fahmy aka Ganzeer

© Claudia Wiens
Ganzeer and Ammar Abu Bakr discussing projects

068_Tunisia_Takrouna_Faten_Rouissi_Lettuce_Installation_byClaudiaWiens

© Claudia Wiens
Faten Rouissi creates a land-art installation with lettuce during the contemporary art festival “De Colline en Colline” in Takrouna. In the area around Takrouna lettuce and greenery is produced mainly for export. The people of the region do not really benefit from their work. Faten’s installation points out this imbalance.

A second part of my project is catching bits of quickly changing cityscapes: graffiti that appears and then often disappears again; relicts of the revolution like burned out buildings; flags waving a newly discovered national pride; and of course the protesters. The history, revolutions, and current political situation in all three countries are very different with many of the people’s demands not yet having been met. Also, people are having constantly changing feelings from disappointment and anger to euphoria or apprehension, but amongst this there is one common thing – people reclaimed the streets and express their emotions, demands and needs more freely than before. Artists turn to the streets, spray graffiti or paint murals and demonstrations take place regularly now. People feel more that they own the streets and public places again or maybe for the first time, which gives them a feeling of belonging and being able to play a part in the development of their country, contrary to the situation before the revolutions when most people often apathetically said, “I can’t change anything, I better keep quiet.”

These photos are taken on film with my Lomo in order to better catch the feeling of constant change.

027_Tunis_Bourghiba_Square_byClaudiaWiens© Claudia Wiens
Since the revolution the army is stationed in Bourghiba Square in downtown Tunis protecting the Interior Ministry and other official buildings.

Graffitis and Murals in Egypt© Claudia Wiens
More and more Egyptian flags appear in public spaces like here at a boat place at the Corniche.

030_Tunis_Architecture_Unicersity_byClaudiaWiens

© Claudia Wiens
Zwewla is a group of artists and activists. Two of thm were caught in November 2012 while spraying a slogan on a wall in Gabes and are facing trial now. Their supporters demonstrate regularly.

Graffitis and Murals in Egypt

© Claudia Wiens
People are daring to own the streets now, more and more graffitis appear in Egypt.

076_Cairo_byClaudiaWiens

© Claudia Wiens
Regularly new walls are errected by army and police to keep protester away from embassies, ministries and other other buildings.

Tunisian Artist Faten Rouissi

© Claudia Wiens
After the revolution Tunisian artist Faten Rouiss created an event with other artists to beautify all the cars that were burned out during the revolution in order to create a feeling of a new beginning.

069_Cairo_byClaudiaWiens

© Claudia Wiens
Burned out building of the ex ruling party, the National Democratic Party (NPD).

016_Tunis_Ben_Alis_villa_pool_byClaudiaWiens

© Claudia Wiens
During and after the revolution many people broke into Ben Ali’s and his family member”s villas and looted the places, burned them, stole things and also decorated walls with graffitis.

Graffitis and Murals in Egypt

© Claudia Wiens
This graffiti shows Khaled Said, a young man, who was killed during police torture in June 2010 in Alexandria. A well known Facebook group, ‘We are all Khaled Said’ brought attention to his death and contributed to growing discontent in the weeks leading up to the Egyptian Revolution of 2011.

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