On Art and Aesthetics

Alaa Awad

We all are aware of the fact that art overall suffers in politically tumultuous nations. Yet, some forms of expression may still find a way and break into the open. Not so much literature and film—both of which require a great deal of investment in production, marketing and distribution—but certainly things like murals and graffiti that can blossom with limited resources, almost anywhere and everywhere, and be replicated quickly through photographs.

The last decade or so in Egypt has been a difficult period but from within this disorder has emerged a new generation of street artists. In a 2013 article on BBC Culture, British art critic Alastair Sooke writes that “influenced by ancient culture and contemporary politics”, this group of talented individuals has been “delivering potent messages of protest”. One of the most prominent stars of the Egyptian street art scene is Alaa Awad (born 1981), who was educated…

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