Viewing Category ~ street art
obsession sessions had a brief hiccup and we’re broadcasting on a Tuesday, blasphemy yes … but the show must go on. This week, meet the “Egyptian Banksy” as I like to call him, mysterious and anonymous, graffiti street artist El Teneen. In his own words “I started doing street art as El Teneen (Arabic for “Dragon”) anonymously in the first days of the Egyptian Revolution in 25 January 2011. Tear gas and protest chants inspired my first piece which was the face of Egypt’s ex-tyrant Hosni Mubarak with the word “Leave” underneath it. After Mubarak stepped down, I have tried to expose the lies and conspiracy theories of Egyptian state media, to condemn the brutality of the military junta that ruled Egypt more than a year and half, and now to mock political Islamists and their extremist take on freedoms.
I: What’s the earliest memory of a creative activity you did?
T: I had a case of fever when I was 9 and had to stay in bed for about a week. I had with me an empty notebook and two colors Turquoise and Aquamarine, and by the time I got better I filled the entire notebook with illustrations with these two colors. I don’t remember the drawings I made in this notebook well but I remember the experience of exploring the infinite possibilities of mixing just two colors.
I: If you weren’t doing what you do right now, what would you be doing?
T: I would be finishing my PhD.
I: Inspiration, who? what? where?
T: Jokes. Puns. Taxi drivers. Ahwa (Cafes). Protest chants. Politician slip-ups. Street ads. Sheikhs. Youtube clips.
I: Share any of piece your work, recent or old and talk about it.
T: The word “Backwards” in Arabic is written under the face of angry sheikh Abdel-Monem El-Shaat. I made it as a poster a couple of weeks ago and pasted it in Cairo streets commenting on the reverse direction political Islamists are trying to steer Egypt to. Since Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi won the presidential elections earlier this year, voices of sheikhs are on the rise calling for backwards/retarded demands regarding issues such as the freedom of speech, human rights, and women rights.
Such anti-freedom voices use the name of revolution but they are trying to build an oppressive system not so different from Mubarak’s regime. They are, however, worse in the sense that instead of focusing on solving the problems for which the Egyptian revolution happened (for example social justice), they link religion with their power and their politics. Unfortunately, many Egyptians have easily fallen into the trap of believing this propaganda. I hope the “Backwards” campaign I am starting with this poster will be a counter movement.
I wrote about this piece but I didn’t translate it yet.
I: Name 5 websites that you check often.
Thursday. Objects. This week, the guest that is sharing his “object” with everyone is no other than one of my best friends and THE most inspiring person I know, Paul Parolin. I met Paul back in ’03 at the Ontario college of Art & Design, we attended classes together, were amongst the first people to get a job before even graduating and work together at the same agency, we even lived together in the same infamous house at Rusholme Drive in Toronto, had our birthday parties together, worked on a poster for YouTube together, just to mention a few of our joint activities. Paul currently is Associate Creative Director at creative powerhouse agency The Hive in Toronto, creating amazing stuff. Now, If I could only get him onboard the obsession sessions ….
The Stoop, 1952
Concrete, chicken wire, vegetation, glass
45 sq ft including lower level
Installation at Rusholme Drive, Toronto, Canada
“It was Morsello’s intention that this form be interacted with, viewed close-up and even touched.
In order that the heft and mass be perceived in myriad of settings, The Stoop was placed outdoors, subject to the effects of changing light, seasons and drunkards. Brimming with vibrant energy, the richly textured surface is often adorned with bottles. Now an iconic symbol of creativity, indulgence, excess and profanity, over the year’s it’s become a mecca calling to Westend Torontonians alike.”
~ Paul R. Parolin.
Blackletter calligraphy by Niels Shoe Meulman, with a broom on concrete.
Hi, I'm Ibraheem Youssef
I'm a Designer & Illustrator,
currently based in Boston.
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