Sunday, 27 November 2016

NAE : Fighting Walls - Street Art in Egypt and Iran

Remarkable exhibition on at Nottingham's New Art Exchange (until 18th Dec 2016) called "Fighting Walls : Street Art in Egypt and Iran".

The exhibition describes some of the politically motivated graffiti that has appeared in these cities during times of civil stress.

General view of the exhibition

The "No Walls" campaign was initiated by Salma El-Tarzi in response to the barriers placed on major streets around Tahrir Square. This particular "opened wall" was painted by Ammar Abou Bakr

The barriers had a significant adverse effect on daily life and breaking them down only resulted in the authorities rebuilding them even stronger.

So artists "opened the wall" in a different way....

Opened Wall by Ammar Abou Bakr

A number of Egyptian protesters lost their eyes to rubber bullets and shotgun pellets fired by police. One victim, Ahmed Harara, lost the sight in both eyes in separate incidents and became named "The Living Martyr". In another case, video footage showed a policeman sniping at protester and being congratulated by his colleague on hitting someone in the eye "In his eye! It was in his eye! Bravo boss!". Activists promised a reward for the identification of the "Eye Sniper" and he was eventually found to be a Lieutent El-Shenawy and was sentenced to three years in jail in 2013

Various Graffitiof protestors who have lost an eye

Graffiti protesting the death of Sheikh Emad Effat, an Al-Azhar scholar who had joined the protests and died from a gunshot wound.

Graffiti protesting death of Sheikh Emad Effat

This image, by artist Ammar Abo Bakr, in 2011 is of Major General Mohamed Al-Batran, Head of the Prison Investigations Department who was found shot dead at the prison. His sister reported that Al-Batran had refused to allow prisoners to flee the jail. After his death som 24,000 prisoners were allowed to escape from prison.

Graffiti by Ammar Abo Bakr

"Faryad", meaning "scream" or "shout", and written in persian script in the swirling hair, was painted in 2010 by artist FRITZ as a commentary on public anger and shock at the outcome of the 2009 election, and its aftermath when the police cracked down heavily on protests.

BFTF is really impressed by the way the artist has painted the "tiles" onto the plain wall, and the way the colour scheme erratically changes. Could look at this for a long time!


Pretty clear message in this work called Hidden Reality by artist MAD in Tehran, 2011

Hidden Reality by MAD, 2011

There was also a computer game called "1979 Revolution: Black Friday" in which the player is a character who is involved in the events of the Iranian revolution and has to make decisions in order to survive.

1979 Revolution: Black Friday

Many buildings in Iran are covered in state sponsored murals, a number of which were shown in postcard form in the exhibition.

Iranian State sponsored murals

Related Content
Surface Gallery - Michael Powell Exhibition
Report on Street Art Exhibition at the Surface Gallery
Pictures of the Sky
Nottingham - Tiltshifted
Shonaleigh at Nottingham Storytellers
Great programme describing how some of Turners paintings covered key changes in the Industrial Revolution.
Piero Gilardi and John Newling at Nottingham Contemporary
Light Night 2013
The Chair
>Jean Genet at Nottingham Contemporary

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