Ganzeer (also known as Mohammed Fahmy) is an Egyptian street artist, graphic designer, illustrator, visual artist, blogger and activist although he would probably reject all of these labels. He has become known for his murals depicting the martyrs of the Arab Spring; for his graphics stencils and graffiti exposing political repression in Egypt; and for his outspoken criticism of the Egypt’s ruling military council. His work became one of the driving forces of political and revolutionary graffiti on Cairo’s streets. His street art and graphic work have become emblematic of the uprising, and at the same time have given it an iconic visual language that has
resonated in public space to this day. The Mask of Freedom, for example, which circulated as posters, stickers and t-shirts, depicts a man who is gagged and blindfolded with tiny wings on each side of his head: a deliberately decorative idea of freedom. The caption beneath reads, “Salute from the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to the Loving Sons of the Nation.” The visual language here is direct, symbolic, and unequivocal, while the ironic antimilitarist message is crystal clear. Ganzeer is part of a generation of courageous, outspoken politically
engaged artists who have been actively working to effect change in Egypt, and who have –for the first time in the country– claimed public space through critically creative means of expression. In 2014, however, Ganzeer was identified by his real name and denounced on state television as a “recruit of the Muslim Brotherhood.” Two days after this event which opened the way for persecution, the artist left for the
US, though he refuses to ask for political asylum and thus relinquish his Egyptian identity and right to vote.
He continues to work from his temporary home, New York, to raise awareness about the situation in Egypt. In the exhibition, he shows an installation comprised of a collage of resistance posters designed and used in Egypt between 2011-2014, against the backdrop of a reproduction of a mural painted in Cairo in 2013 of a large cat, a symbol for the Egyptian people.