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Broadcast Journalist and Multimedia Producer based in Paris, France

Posts Tagged ‘graffiti

Cairo’s street artists defy authorities with graffiti protest

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Whitewashing their own work, but with a difference. Mohamed Mahmoud Street, Cairo.

Cairo’s graffiti artists offered a sarcastic rebuttal to city authorities on Thursday during the last day of voting in Egypt’s presidential elections. Following plans to whitewash street art on Mohamed Mahmoud St, artists instead began the whitewashing themselves spelling out a cynical phrase in Arabic – “forget about the past, focus on the elections”.

Radio France Internationale

“We decided to do it, but our way,” independent artist Mahmoud Hany tells RFI, his hands covered in paint after descending down a ladder.

The wall just off Tahrir Square is particularly iconic. It features the faces of several martyrs, anti-military council slogans and reminders of last year’s uprising.

Hany says the city authorities had threatened to cover the wall a few days ago. But they wanted to beat them to it. “We have to be with the events,” he explains.

Some of the graffiti is particularly critical of the elections. With some of the so-called revolutionary youth seeing the polls as an exercise in consolidation of power for the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).

Slideshow: Mohamed Mahmoud St, in downtown Cairo, Egypt

Especially evident, they say, in the candidacy of figures such as former Mubarak-era prime minister Ahmed Shariq and former foreign minister Amr Moussa.

One evocative mural directs its criticism of the old regime by morphing the faces of various figures together.

“Half of it is [Field Marshall] Tantawi, and the other half is Hosni Mubarak,” says Hany. “Behind them, Amr Moussa and Shafiq,” he adds.

The young artist explained that the authorities removed the original piece featuring just Tantawi and Mubarak. So they repainted it. Adding Moussa and Shafiq, placed in the background.

Cairo’s downtown area is awash with graffiti over a year after the ousting of Mubarak. Further down Mohamed Mahmoud St each side street is blocked off by a wall constructed by the security services to protect the interior ministry. Each one serving as a canvas for Cairo’s street artists.

It is not clear how long the authorities will tolerate it for. Hany, however, is unperturbed. “Graffiti is not an art that lasts forever,” he says. “Anyone can add anything at anytime,” he adds, smiling.

Written by Daniel Finnan

25 May 2012 at 10:33

Chatting with Monsieur Chat at Paris graffiti show

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Monsieur Chat at the Arteum

Monsieur Chat at the Arteum

If you’ve ever spent time in Paris, are observant and like graffiti, then you won’t have failed to notice Monsieur Chat curled up on the sides of buildings and chimmey stacks across the French capital. The bright yellow smiling cat appears at a new exhibition in the city’s business district.

Thomas Vuille, alias Monsieur Chat, has been painting street art since he was 15 years old, amassing an incredible feline presence across Paris and other cities across the world. At one point Monsieur Chat purred at 80 different locations in Paris alone.

Mr Cat told RFI that around 20 per cent have been “deleted”, some propriétaires obviously not too happy about Vuille climbing across their rooftops to ink another acrylic cat. His new book M Chat provides a chronicle of his journey, illustrating Monsieur Chat’s pawprints around the planet.

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Written by Daniel Finnan

16 March 2010 at 16:46

Whole Train hits France

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The graffiti film Whole Train premiered in Paris on Tuesday evening to rapturous applause. The film, produced by German director Florian Gaag, tells the story of four graffiti “writers” whose frustrated creativity and need for escapism thrusts them into an illegal battle for the subway trains of the city. It goes on release at cinemas across France on Wednesday.

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Written by Daniel Finnan

13 January 2010 at 21:44

Graffiti gets into the Grand Palais

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Outside the Tag graffiti exhibition, Grand Palais, Paris

Outside the Tag graffiti exhibition, Grand Palais, Paris

Under the glass-panelled roof of the Grand Palais, the Tag exhibition marks an important moment for graffiti. It’s the first time such a collection of street art has been housed in a neoclassical building, which is more used to displaying collections of fine art.

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Written by Daniel Finnan

18 April 2009 at 18:19