Video Inverted Worlds: Muhammed Mahmud Street. Egyptian Heritage and Popular Saga

Graffiti is an art of rejection that reaches its audience through the street. It is an expression of social and political conditions, addressing issues concerning society. There have been some attempts to express the Egyptian revolution and the rejection of the colonial mandate over the people. Such attempts were linked to Egyptian heritage as an important part of the culture of society. Means of expressing popular resistance and suffering have varied, and included humour and irony as a natural result of oppression practiced by the regimes against the people.

Alaa Awad
(Jonathan Rashad | CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The downtown area of Cairo was one of the most important areas which witnessed the events of the Egyptian revolution, including demonstrations and sitins against violence. Muhammed Mahmud Street is one of the most important streets where revolutionaries recorded their views and rebellion on the walls, turning the street into the biggest witness to recent events. It is impossible to understand ourselves and appreciate our capabilities unless our past is fully grasped as it contributed to creating us. Our understanding of the past is only an understanding of ourselves. The historical consciousness complements the national culture. It highlights the national character and creates integration between the past, the present and the future.

Alaa Awad has been instructor in the Faculty of Fine Arts, Luxor, in the Department of Painting (Mural Painting Section) since 2006. He obtained his Master Degree from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Zamalek, Helwan University. He participated in a number of collective exhibitions inside and outside Egypt, and contributed to several workshops. Alaa has experience in implementing field murals using different materials. He carried out Graffiti art works in Egypt.

Mohammed Mahmud Street – Between Ancient Egyptian Tradition and The Modern Epic from Orient Institut Beirut on Vimeo.

During the Inverted Worlds Conference Alaa Awad explained his art to Mona Abaza. She is Professor of Sociology at the American University in Cairo. In 2009-2011, she was visiting Professor of Islamology, Department of Theology at Lund University. Previously she has been a visiting scholar in Singapore at the Institute for South East Asian Studies (ISEAS) 1990-1992, Kuala Lumpur 1995-1996, Paris (EHESS) 1994, Berlin (Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg) 1996-1997, Leiden (IIAS) 2002-2003, and Wassenaar (NIAS) 2006-2007. Her books include Twentieth Century Egyptian Art: The Private Collection of Sherwet Shafei (The Amercian University Press, 2011), The Changing Consumer Culture of Modern Egypt; Cairo’s Urban Reshaping (Brill/AUC Press, 2006), Debates on Islam and Knowledge in Malaysia and Egypt; Shifting Worlds (Routledge Curzon Press/UK, 2002), and Islamic Education, Perceptions and Exchanges: Indonesian Students in Cairo (Cahier d’Archipel, EHESS, Paris, 1994).

Alaa Awad explains to Mona Abaza about his Art from Orient Institut Beirut on Vimeo.


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