Street art, like most fashion trends, started off underground, representing a youth movement; a glorious rebellion against ‘The Man’. Unfortunately, we’re coming across more and more tacky ‘street art’ appearing across the city, imitating pioneers Banksy and Shephard Fairey, without a real message or motive.
Ganzeer, however, is a street artist with a mission. Best known for his “artivism” throughout 2011, the unknown artist has been plastering murals, stickers, posters and more around Cairo’s public spaces, representing the strife of the Egyptian revolutionary. Most people would be against the idea of oxymoronically putting a street artist’s work inside a traditional art space, but Safarkhan Gallery have other ideas with their upcoming ‘Virus’ exhibition by the man himself.
Ganzeer at work
“A virus only seems impossible to crush when vital cells are infected. Any anti-viral will act against infected cells and in-turn weakening the entire human body until its final demise. For the virus to truly prevail it must infect vital ranks within The Establishment. Take, for example, The Free Officers recruiting Major-General Mohammed Naguib for their 1952 military coup. Or Constantine I’s conversion to Christianity and how that aided in the spread of the religion across the ancient world. Or take Pablo Picasso’s adoption of Cubism and collage-techniques… and how that changed the art establishment forever. I see some signs of conversion within the Egyptian Establishment. Be it socially, politically, culturally, or artistically. Which is why I have faith that the virus is spreading. And there’s no stopping it.”
So there you have it: a message, as convoluted as it is, that Ganzeer is trying to portray with his art. He’ll be behind the curtains of Safarkhan until opening day creating the art. At the end of the day, even ‘street artists’ need money, so go ahead and check out his works at Safarkhan Gallery from today until the 3rd November. For more information, check out the CairoScene listing here
and stay tuned for a very special feature on Ganzeer coming soon!