Arts & Culture

Street Graffiti, Contemporary Art Pour Life into Cairo’s City of the Dead

Street Graffiti, Contemporary Art Pour Life into Cairo’s City of the Dead

Graffiti at Cairo’s City of the Dead – Courtesy: Muhamad Nour/ Forma Photos

It’s a pale city, full of workshops with old men working in silence, and underprivileged children playing football with their bare feet. Cairo’s City of the Dead is decorated with gravestones and Mausoleums, with people living among them.

Located below the hills of Mokattam city in Cairo, the City of the Dead is full of archaeological and Islamic sites that date back to the Mameluke dynasty. “Rabea Qaetbay”, an area in the city, has been recently brought to life by colorful contemporary graffiti on its walls.

“I was originally planning to embark on a journey in Cairo’s City of the Dead to take photos of the archeological city and its sites, but my plans changed once I saw professional graffiti in the local area. It felt like something extremely alive in a dead place,” Muhamad Nour, a photographer who has the Facebook page Forma Photos, told Egyptian Streets.

Nour is a Cairo-based photographer who accidentally came across the paintings. He went on to say that he has been to the area several times previously, but that the graffiti poured some soul into it.

Credit: Muhamad Nour/ Forma Photos

The one who made the graffiti didn’t stay anonymous for too long. Lukasaz Zasadni, also known as Franek Mysza, is a Polish graffiti artist.

“The Polish embassy in Cairo invited me and my colleague Arthur Chalupka; our tutor was Agnieszka Dobrowolska from ARCHiNOS (A group of architects known for their unique designs), he worked for years in the City of the Dead,” Zasadni said to Egyptian Streets.

Credit: Muhamad Nour/ Forma Photos

Zasadni said that they painted for 11 days during November and December 2016, adding that people in the streets really understand their art. Zasadni hopes that if more artists find their way to the City of the Dead, then all of its streets will be painted just like the Berlin Wall or the streets of Paris. In Europe, street art attracts tourists, as seen in the Spanish city of Barcelona.

“We loved Cairo; it was getting better every day, Zasadni said.

“At first, everybody was amazed but then they all wanted their houses and cars to be painted as well. Children were rather happy, they were great people, great time.

Credit: Muhamad Nour/ Forma Photos
Credit: Muhamad Nour/ Forma Photos
Credit: Muhamad Nour/ Forma Photos
Credit: Muhamad Nour/ Forma Photos

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Egyptian Streets is an independent, young, and grass roots news media organization aimed at providing readers with an alternate depiction of events that occur on Egyptian and Middle Eastern streets, and to establish an engaging social platform for readers to discover and discuss the various issues that impact the region.

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