There was almost no graffiti in Egypt’s cities before the revolution, but then artists turned the walls into canvases for protest. Just as soon as the art went up, authorities tried to whitewash it, to no avail. Mosa’ab Elshamy documents the evolution of Cairo’s street art in pictures, from the early days of the revolution up until just last week, when artists took to the empty walls again.
Following deadly clashes in Tahrir Square that erupted in November 2011, when 50 protesters were killed, Egypt's ruling military ruling junta built walls around the square. More than four walls were erected, turning Downtown Cairo into a mazelike area. By March 2012, Egyptian graffiti artists arranged a “No Walls” protest, where they painted stunning, eye-deceiving murals. The works were virtual continuations of the blocked streets. Almost every wall around the area was painted by young artists who joined hands and brushes over three days.
(Photo: Mosa'ab Elshamy)