One of Ganzeer's latest images: Tank vs. bicyclist
With his tank art, murals of Egyptians killed in the revolution, and other political graffiti, he’s been doing just that, along with dozens of other artists.
On a recent night, friends and volunteers joined Ganzeer under a bridge in the Egyptian capital after 10 p.m. to help paint one of his images. Working in the yellow light of a street lamp, they taped to the wall huge sheets of paper with large shapes cut out of them. As they rolled the first layer of white paint over the stencils, passersby stopped to stare. Off came the first set of stencils. Up went another set. They slopped on black paint.
As curfew drew near, the image on the wall had become clear: a man riding a bicycle, carrying on his head a tray of bread, known in Egypt by the word that also means “life.” Confronting the bicyclist was an almost life-size tank, a soldier’s profile at the top aiming the gun turret at him.
In a nation where the military has been in control since the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak in February, the message was as black and white as the palette.
Surge in political street art since uprising
Political street art was never prevalent in the Egyptian capital before the uprising. There were scrawled names, of course, and hard-core soccer fans tagged walls and painted designs. But nothing like the tank.