I’ve only been online sporadically these past few days. After my last post about feeling overwhelmed and sleeping on it, I got a call the next morning that Abue had fallen in her apartment, so I’ve been up there even more than usual.
But things have started to turn around. She seems to be doing all right, and the other blogger I was concerned about has managed to be brought to a hospital and recuperating. (Which, out of privacy, will be my last comment on this.) We’re not participating in Bushwick Open Studios this weekend, given some changed circumstances in the loft and caring for Abuelita not really giving me the time to devote to an all weekend event like that. But the fact that a couple of people have expressed interest in whether I was/disappointment that I wasn’t made me feel at least like what I do is being appreciated. Meanwhile, the Forbidden Ones downstairs have a photo exhibit up in their space, along with some graffiti writer footage at 5 Pointz they were projecting on the slaughterhouse wall across the street. We stopped in there when we got back from Hell’s Kitchen. I don’t know if the words “relaxing” and “biker hangout party” are often said together, but that’s exactly what it was for me.
One thing I posted that still warrants attention though, is the situation of Ganzeer and Finnish collaborator Sampsa being labeled “terrorists” by the Egyptian media. And to be clear, I’m talking about visual artists, who have committed no acts of violence. I prefer the old definition of terrorist personally—you know, the one where you actually have to commit acts of violence in the name of some agenda or ideology to be branded one? These days it seems those in power are more than happy to slap the label on dissidents of any sort. From the article I previously posted:
Captain Borderline, Sampsa and Ganzeer launched the social media and street art campaign #SisiWarCrimes. It called attention to alleged abuses by Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, the former head of Egypt’s armed forces, who could become president if he wins the election.A few months later, together with the Cologne-based art collective
Within 24 hours of the campaign’s launch, the artists and the collective were called terrorists on the Al Kahera Wal Nas TV Network and accused of being connected to the Muslim Brotherhood (in April, an Egyptian court sentenced 683 of its members to death). The station is known for its support of General Sisi and had broadcasted a message from him just the week before. Three weeks later, Egypt’s largest state-owned newspaper, Al Gomhuria, repeated the accusation, and Ganzeer was forced into hiding.
Ganzeer is one of the Middle Eastern artists who’s work has appeared in recent issues of World War 3 Illustrated, and art shows related to such, so although we have not personally met, I feel like he’s a…brother artist? Colleague? Whatever you want to call it, I feel more connection to this situation than “oh, that’s a shame”.
Here’s a Ganzeer stencil in a WW3 art show a few years ago, with one of my small watercolors next to it.
More work and information on the situation (including a proposal to make graffiti punishable by 4 years in prison in Egypt) at his site: