Here Today: Soraya Morayef & Egyptian Street Art
Africaseen blog, 2nd April 2013
by Susan Phillips
While Soraya Morayef identifies herself as a writer and journalist, I see her through a different lens, as an artist and archivist. Through her photo blog documenting the extraordinary explosion of street art in Egypt following the initial Tahrir Square protests of January 2011, Morayef has captured, framed, and contextualized a fleeting moment in Egypt’s long, proud history of artistic and cultural expression.
Street art is a minor obsession of mine, which may be one reason that I feel so grateful to Morayef. The Egyptian authorities are diligent about painting over works that offend the powers that be. The mural above, for instance, has been mostly effaced.
The new graffiti covering the defaced mural reads “People, why have you betrayed the blood of the martyrs?”, according to Morayef.
Morayef started her blog, Suzee in the City, in June 2011. She says that documenting the street art became an obligation and an emotional journey. “The uprising, the downfall, the unity and the coming apart are all shown in street art pieces,” she wrote in one blog post.
According to Morayef, about a third of the graffiti artists she has documented are women. Emerging on the walls of Cairo and other Egyptian cities are women’s responses to the sexual violence women face in the aftermath of the uprising.
Morayef’s blog also brings us images from Tripoli after Khadafi’s fall, and Gaza. It’s a window into a world of evanescent protest…Now that Morayef is in a graduate program in London, it’s hard to know what direction her blog will take. Here’s hoping her archive will continue to grow.
More on Morayef: An interview on the blog Africa is a Country; audio interview with Mahsa Alimardani, and a very recent YouTube video produced by Morayef called “Cairo SprayCan Rebels.”
All images copyright Soraya Morayef/Suzee in the City.