Calls for ‘Freedom’, Words of Support Dominate Tahrir Square Graffiti

BY Ghada Mashamoun  September 16, 2011 at 2:09 PM EST

Much like the Egyptian music scene, street art has gained new meaning and is thriving in post-revolutionary Egypt. Due to the new, lenient atmosphere in Egypt, murals and stencil graffiti are the most visible in Cairo’s aged subway stations and large concrete walls that surround the capital’s various neighborhoods.

The diverse and ever-changing works illustrate both the political unrest and artistic freedom of expression. Many are painted over by authorities, and some people believe they deface Egypt’s already often grimy streets, but something new always emerges in their place. The new artwork is before the public and always evolving.

Photographs of murals were taken at a wall space next to the Fine Arts Faculty in Zamalek, one of Cairo’s residential districts, as well as in areas near Tahrir Square subway station.

While many are political in nature, mocking former president Hosni Mubarak and his regime, some provide encouragement to Egyptians, reminding them of those who died in the 2011 revolution and the need to see it through.

The Muslim Crescent and the Christian cross are widely exhibited, side-by-side, urging solidarity between Egypt’s Muslims and Christian community. Another recurring theme is that of broken shackles, representing freedom from oppression.

The personification of life and death, symbolizing the rebirth of the Egyptian soul, is also displayed. Media, and in particular social media, are recurring themes depicted in many of the pieces, representing the role they played in rallying the masses.

However, the most notable and visible theme of Egypt’s post-revolutionary street art is that of Egyptians’ deep affection for their country.

On Friday’s NewsHour, watch a report about Egypt’s economy and a briefing with Margaret Warner from Cairo. View all of the NewsHour’s Egypt coverage on our World page and follow us on Twitter.