Walls of Freedom - Banned in China! posted on
First the good news: Walls of Freedom will have more pages, we are now at 260 and counting. And the book will be even better than advertised—it’s already epic! The artists, authors, photographers, Basma Hamdy and Don Karl, as well as three text editors, translators, two project assistants, two graphic designers and a whole department of photo editors have made sure of that. During the last 2 ½ months there has not been a single day off for us and on average we worked crazy 12-14h shifts each day—and no, I really am not kidding. We decided to go the extra mile, skip Christmas, and finalize the book for print until New Year’s Eve. And here is where the bad news started.
We were suddenly hunted by a lot of bad luck. Computers crashed in a row, and after we managed to get them back alive (try to find a system administrator that works on Christmas night), people from and around our team fell ill. But the really bad news came from an entirely unexpected direction. From Here To Fame Publishing—as do many art book publishers—prints its books in China. We have a very good working relationship with our friends there that make sure that quality and working conditions are according to the best standards.
The Chinese Publishing and Printing Control Authority, that checks on all books printed in the country, has refused to allow Walls of Freedom to be printed in China. Unknown to us before, the Chinese government thinks the Egyptian revolution has been orchestrated by western countries. They actually believe this book is counter-revolutionary! We tried to find a solution with our Chinese friends and even ways to circumvent the censor, but it soon became clear that this is not a joke and that our partners would risk their livelihood and arrest if we try to print the book in China.
We expected that Walls of Freedom may get banned in some countries, but we did not anticipate that it will already get banned from printing.
Walls of Freedom - Crowdfunding Campaign posted on
50 photographers, 30 Artists, 20 Essays, 240 pages... After more than 2 years of research and 1.5 years of writing, translating editing and designing...we need your help to finish this book.
Since the beginning of the revolution, we have been involved in Egypt's thriving urban art scene. We worked in close collaboration with a network of its leading artists on mural projects, events and exhibitions. Over a year ago we started to work on the book 'Walls of Freedom', in order to professionally document the Egyptian Street Art explosion. The amazing artworks of the last three years pieced together, tell the whole story of the Egyptian revolution.
As many of you know, our projects and books are first of all done for the artists and for the communities we work with. This philosophy does not leave much financial leverage. We have put our heart and soul and a staggering amount of work into 'Walls of Freedom'. But by doing this, this project also became more and more unviable. To be able to finish the book the same way that we have started it and to truly do justice to the artists and the story of the revolution, we now ask for your support.
Arabic Graffiti - extended edition posted on
Arabic Graffiti - extended - This book is an international success and remains the standard work on the topic. This new and revised edition is extended by a chapter about the graffiti of the recent Arab uprisings written by Rana Jarbou.
More than four years of research culminated in the publication of the first edition Arabic Graffiti (English) in January 2011. However just then, the Arab uprisings started, and concurrently an explosion of Arabic Graffiti hit the region. Even while residing in Berlin, Don Karl found himself in the middle of these currents. Through various art projects he broadened his contacts with artists, who took part in the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions, and befriended many of them.mTogether with Pascal Zoghbi, Don Karl organized Arabic Graffiti exhibitions and events around Arabic Graffiti in Alexandria, Amman, Beirut, Berlin, Bochum, Boston, Cairo, Dresden, Dubai, Frankfurt, Mannheim, Montreal, Nantes, Paris and Weimar, to name a few.
25th January 2013 posted on
Article (in German) by Don Karl on Egyptian Street Art for Swiss TV : Die Farben der Revolution
Die explosionsartige Entwicklung der Street Art und Graffitibewegung in Ägypten sorgte international für Aufmerksamkeit und Erstaunen. Das sollten sie eigentlich nicht. Denn schliesslich hat Ägypten einige Tausend Jahre Erfahrung mit dem Beschreiben und Bemalen von Wänden. Mehr
Mural by Alaa Awad in Mohammed Mahmoud Street, February 2012. Photo by Beshoy Fayez
Street-Art & Political Protest Culture posted on
Thursday, November 15th
Discussion with Don Karl (Berlin), Ganzeer (Cairo), Fred Meier-Menzel (Weimar/Cairo)
Moderation: Marina Sorbello (Berlin)
White Wall Beirut (6th September - 3rd November) has been the largets Street Art and Graffiti exhibition and event in the Middle East to date. 15 International and 19 Lebanese artists created an unforgettable exhibition at the Beirut Art Center and changed the face of the streets of Beirut with an incredible amount of small and large scale murals.
Ammar Abo Bakr and Zepha aka Vincent Abadie Hafezi 2012
The result of White wall's Arabic Graffiti workshop held by Pascal Zoghbi and Zepha aka Vincent Abadie Hafezi 2012
left: "Hona al Dahiyeh - Here in Dahiyeh" by Ali Bahsoun, 2012 / right: "Poem by Soufi Poet Jalaluddin" by Ali 2012
ZEPHA aka Vincent Abadie Hafez, White Wall Exhibition, Beirut Art Center, 2012
From Here To Fame is proud to have been partner to this great event!
Curated by Siska (Beirut), Don Karl (Germany) and Charles Vallaud (France).
Beirut Art Center: Le Graffiti arabe - Revised French Edition book release posted on
As part of our exhibition WHITE WALL, a book launch of the new and revised French edition, Le Graffiti arabe, and a presentation of the project Arabic Graffiti will take place at Beirut Art Center.
Wednesday, October 31st, 8 pm - Book Launch - Beirut Art Center
Don Karl and Pascal Zoghbi narrate the journey of making this book. More than four years of research culminated in the publication of the first edition Arabic Graffiti (English) in January 2011. However just then, the Arab uprisings started, and concurrently an explosion of Arabic Graffiti hit the region. Even while residing in Berlin, Don Karl found himself in the middle of these currents. Through various art projects he broadened his contacts with artists, who took part in the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions, and befriended many of them. Eventually he invited some of them to partake in the White Wall exhibition in Beirut.
Friday 2nd November - 5 pm - Book Signing - Salon du Livre Francophone
Arabic Graffiti French edition book release & el Seed Solo exhibtion in Paris - 12th October2012 posted on
Gallery Itinerrance in Paris showed an exeptional exhibition by el Seed. The packed opening went along with the book release of our long awaited French edition of Arabic Graffiti.
Arabic Graffiti cultural week in Paris
18 - 22 September 2012
Tuesday, September 18th -6pm
Mairie du 13e, 1 place d'Italie
'Arabic Graffiti' exhibition opening & Cocktail party
Canvases and photographs collected by From Here To Fame Publishing and the gallery Mehdi Ben Cheikh on display.
Arabic Graffiti exhibition at Mairie 13eme in Paris
Wednesday, September 19, 8pm: Shorts
Selection of the best Tunisian film creations. You'll enjoy a rich program of events and discoveries around six films highlights of the past 5 years.
Friday, September 21, 8pm: "Prisoner 3300"
There is no need to introduce Hedi Baballah, Tunisian actor and comedian known for being the first actor to have dared to imitate the former Tunisian president Ben Ali. "Prisoner 3300", a reference to his unfortunate experience, is a "one man show" in which he presents a series of hilarious skits.
Saturday, September 22, 2012, 8pm: Concert
Sana & Skander will share with you a memorable musical moment with all the musicians who played on their new album "Alem Jdid". Other visual artists, dancers, singers and musicians from all directions will accompany this concert!
Arabic Graffiti on Tunisia’s tallest minaret posted on
French-born Tunisian artist eL Seed is currently suspended 57 meters in the air in an effort to paint Tunisia's largest graffiti mural on the country’s tallest minaret, located at the Jara Mosque in the south-eastern industrial city of Gabès.
Reacting to the recent clashes between religious sects and the art community in Tunisia, the artist embarked on a project to transform this religious landmark into a public artwork during the holy month of Ramadan. "This project is not about decorating a mosque, it is about making art a visible actor in the process of cultural and political change," comments el Seed, who started work on the mural on July 20. "I truly believe that art can bring about fruitful debate, especially within the uncertain political climate right now in Tunisia."
"I hope that this artistic wall on the minaret will help to revive the city, and especially tourism in Gabes," comments the mosque’s Imam, Slah Thebet. The 57-meter-high mural will permanently cover the entire concrete tower face of Jara Mosque exhibiting the words, "Oh humankind, we have created you from a male and a female and made people and tribes so you may know each other," a verse of from the Qur'an, which addresses the importance of mutual respect and tolerance through knowledge as an obligation.
Barjeel Art Foundation is funding the project. Founded by art collector and avid Arab affairs commentator Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi, Barjeel Art Foundation hosts a publicly accessible Arab art collection in Sharjah and participates in art projects internationally. Among the foundation's guiding principles is to contribute to the intellectual development of the region's art scene.
Open until 19th of August: Arabic Graffiti Exhibition
- Museum of Islamic Art in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin
"For a long time, walls were shuttered windows.
They were prisons, through which no color,
shape or word could escape.
Finally, these walls have become open windows;
allowing our dreams to flow out onto the streets.
We pour our love and our anxiety onto these walls;
our need for expression was silenced for so long.
We cover these walls with color to empty our hearts.
Painting these walls, we chain our fears.
It means taking back our space as a people;
re-appropriating a right that was denied us.
Painting these walls, we rediscover our dignity,
our freedom and our honor."
eL SEED, Calligraffiti on canvas above a more than 1200 years old piece of a wall of the palace of Mshatta, 2012
"HE is a bowl of rice pudding", the silent Sufi,
Acrylic on canvas,
AMMAR ABO BAKR, 2012
Arabic Graffiti at the Museum of Islamic Art in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin posted on
25th July - 19th August 2012
A selection of photos and artworks of our 'Arabic Graffiti' project and book and are on display at the Museum of Islamic Art in the Pergamon Museum throughout the duration of the cultural festival 'Nights of the Ramadan'. The works have been created by graffiti artists, calligraphers and typographers from the Middle East and around the world, who combine Arabic calligraphy with graffiti, street art and urban culture.
Sat 4th of August 2012
Arabic Calligraffiti - Artist Talk & Multimedia Performance
7:30 pm Artist Talk
Calligraffiti - between traditional calligraphy and graffiti
Dr. Stefan Weber (Germany), eL Seed (Tunisia/France), Nick Torgoff (France), Don Karl (Germany)
Break - A small buffet (water, dates and pastries) is served to break the fast.
9:30 pm audiovisual multimedia performance
eL SEED & eL AKRylonumerik
Visual illustration of the seven suspended poems of Mecca
The street artist eL Seed blends Arabic calligraphy and graffiti and has influenced graffiti artists throughout the Arab world. Together with the Parisian video and street art collective AKRylonumerik he shows a unique multimedia performance in the Mshatta hall of the Museum of Islamic Art at the Pergamon Museum. The artists use creative digital and analog tools. White Paper and ink are used as well as digital paintbrush and state of the art tactile multi-touch technology. Like a group of musicians connected with the help of cameras, VJing, software and other live video mixing tools, these two creative input sources are merged into a single digital cinematic real-time format.
Nicholas Torgoff (USA), Producer
Gilbert Petit (France), Art Director
Jacques Jimenez (France)
"Don't listen to people who say in Islam you cannot be creative!" el SEED
Entrance 7:30 pm | From admission until the event begins, there is the opportunity to visit the Museum of Islamic Art: Experienced local guides are looking forward to questions and discussions about the exhibition.
Tickets: 12 €, for children under 12 years: Free admission
pre-sale: at the museum, online here
Info-Service | (030) 266 42 42 42 (Mon-Fri 9 am to 4 pm)
'Arabic Graffiti', is an intercultural project by FROM HERE TO FAME that involves artists, activists and academics from various Middle Eastern countries and their diasporas. Started as an art project, the recent events in the region have led to an active involvement of many participants in the transforming changes of the Arab world.
eL SEED - The Islamic Art Renaissance
Mural at From Here To Fame, Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin posted on
"Egypt is not the Muslim Brothers"
Arabic Street Art – Be with the Revolution,
Heinrich Böll Foundation Berlin posted on
Panel with Don Karl aka Stone (Germany), Basma Hamdy (Egypt) and Ammar Abo Bakr (Egypt)
Graffiti designs and occupies public space. They are unpredictable and can produce an agitating force. A message on the wall in an authoritarian regime is often the only method of free expression.
Don Karl (From Here To Fame Publishing), introduces us together with artists from Egypt to the forms and transformations of this ‘wall newspapers in Twitter format’ and shows examples of graffiti in Arabic countries.
10th April-24th June in Frankfurt –
Arabic Graffiti & Egyptian Street Art Gallery posted on
"Venceréis, pero no convenceréis" - "You will win, but you will not convince", Calligraffiti by El Seed
These famous words by Miguel de Unamuno appear throughout the different works in Frankfurt. "I feel this words, describe very well the situation today, not only in the Arab world, but everywhere" El Seed
"At times to be silent is to lie. You will win because you have enough brute force. But you will not convince. For to convince you need to persuade. And in order to persuade you would need what you lack: Reason and Right" Miguel de Unamuno, on 12 October 1936 in a speech facing the Fascist Falangists at the University of Salamanca, Spain
100 YEARS OF THEFT‘ mural by Ammar Abo Bakr with eL SEED
The bust of Nefertiti was found on 6th December 1912 by Ludwig Borchardt. In his personal notes he wrote: "It is indescribable, you have to see it with your own eyes!" Borchart hid it's true value under layers of clay and described it "a worthless piece of gypsum" to the Egyptian Authorities. It is kept until today in the Egyptian Museum in Berlin. Ammar Abo Bakr later visited Nefertiti there: "I am not asking for her to be given back, she is in a beautiful and perfect place.
Child soldier guarding the entrance of the tomp of the Pharao, by Ganzeer, collaboration with Andreas von Chrzanowski
Arabic Graffiti & Egyptian Street Art in Frankfurt
Graffiti artists from Egypt, Tunisia and Germany will create a street art gallery from 10th of April around the Tutankhamun exhibition hall in Frankfurt. Some of the best known and most active street artists from Egypt will participate, including Aya Tarek, Ammar Abo Bakr and Ganzeer. El Seed, a street artist from Tunisia whose work has influenced graffiti artists around the Arab world, and Andreas von Chrzanowski aka Case from Germany, who recently did murals in Egypt, complete this distinguished line-up.
El Seed - Tunisia
Aya Tarek - Alexandria, Egypt
Ammar Abo Bakr - Luxor, Egypt
Another highlight is the exhibition of ten massive ankh sculptures (the Egyptian key of life) in Frankfurt. Created by ten Egyptian artists - including Bassem Yousri, Ebrahim Eslam and Aya Tarek – the ankhs add their protest and voices to the walls of Arabic Graffiti with the 3ankh project.
The street art gallery is rounded out with a program of related events:
Thursday 12th of April
Solitaire: theater performance by Dalia Basiouny, director and actress from Cairo
Followed by panel discussions with Dalia Basiouny and the street artists and the cultural activists Caram Kapp & Don Karl, moderated by Dr. Kersten Knipp.
Gallus Theater, Kleyerstraße 15, 60326 Frankfurt
Friday 13th of April
Opening of the Street Art Gallery First Friday Egyptian Street Art & Arabic Graffiti
7:00 pm - Midnight
Arabic Graffiti - El Seed & Don Karl present the book and project
8:00 pm - Exhibition Foyer
Street Art of the Egyptian Revolution - Ganzeer & Don Karl
9:00 pm - Exhibition Foyer
Tutankhamun exhibition hall, Mainzer Landstraße, Güterplatz, 60327 Frankfurt am Main
Ganzeer - Cairo, Egypt
Since the start of the Arab uprisings the Middle East has seen an unparalleled explosion of graffiti. Many slogans which were later sung by the people on the streets first appeared on walls from Tunisia to Bahrain. Egypt has played a remarkable role in this phenomenon. Even when the army tanks rolled onto Tahrir Square in Cairo, they were immediately adorned with graffiti. Along with people from all walks of life, artists, calligraphers and designers took over the public space. In no time a vital and now globally acclaimed street art scene emerged.
Arabic Graffiti is an intercultural project by From Here To Fame that involves artists, activists and academics from various Middle Eastern countries and their diasporas. Started as an art and book project, the recent events in the region have led to an active involvement of many participants in the transforming changes of the region. Events and exhibitions are currently being developed in Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, France and Germany.
Mad Graffiti Week Berlin: Jan 13-25
posted on 2012-01-27
The Mad Graffiti week is a global event in support of the Egyptian Revolution. On this Facebook page you find all information about the activities in Berlin.
"From January 13 to 25, the streets of Egypt saw an explosion of anti-military street-art. If you are a street artist elsewhere in the world, please do what you can in your city to help. Even if you are not a street-artist, if you’re a comic book artist, a musician, or filmmaker, whatever artistic talent you have can be of big help." Ganzeer
"We are all Khaled Said" Video Release posted on 2011-11-07
Things have come full circle. Today our “Khaled Said on the Berlin Wall” project is concluded by the release of a video clip in honor of the Egyptian people. The video accompanies the powerful rap song “Al Esteslam” (Giving Up), which was written and performed by Khaled Said in 2007 and given to us by his sister.
There is much more to tell. More events are coming up and we have just completed our visit to Egypt – with amazing results. Just like it was from the beginning of this incredible journey; everything fell in its place in a marvelous manner.
On the night of the posting of Khaled Said’s portrait in September, it immediately went viral on the Internet. The next morning we found thousands of comments and shares from all over the world across social networks. The story appeared in newspapers and TV news in the Arab world and beyond. We would like to thank everyone for their recognition and support.
Invited by the Goethe-Institute in Alexandria the Ma’Claim crew painted two Murals in the city. AYA TAREK and a group of local Street Artists created another mural on the same spot.
“Tribute to the Arab Revolution”, by AKUT, TASSO, CASE, RUSK, Alexandria, 2011
This Tribute to the Arab Revolution, by AKUT, TASSO, CASE, RUSK (Ma’Claim), depicts four panels with seemingly identical paintings: A mass of people raising their fists and one hand making the “Peace” sign. “This symbolizes victory as well as it stands for the peace and freedom, which we all hope follows afterwards.” says CASE. The secret of this mural is that it – just like the revolution – extends into the Internet and uses it to further reveal its message. Ma’Claim did not want to make a political statement for one group or notion, but rather honor the power of a movement that has inspired the world.
GIF-Animation: Like the revolution the mural “uses” the Internet to reveal its message.
We also had a very interesting artist talk and a book release of “Arabic Graffiti” in Alexandria. The “We are all Khaled Said” movie was screened twice to deeply moved crowds -first at the Goethe Institute and later at the unveiling celebration of one of the murals. A concert by Revolution Recordz and the performance and local break dancers turned this into a nice block party.
On his first day in Egypt, Joel Sames, who documented the project from the beginning, appeared on a popular Egyptian TV show. Together with Khaled’s Said’s mother Laila Marzouk and his sister Zahraa Kassem, they discussed the importance of this portrait on the Berlin Wall and the plans by Case to recreate it again in Egypt. Mother and sister are both still loud voices in Egypt’s unfinished revolution.
Just days before our arrival, the Military had clashed in Cairo with what had started as a peaceful demonstration of 10,000 Christian but also Muslim demonstrators. 28 died in front of the Egyptian State TV building in what is now known as the Maspero massacre. Mina Daniel, a famous activist was one of the victims.
Shortly after his death, Khaled Said’s mother visited Mina Daniel’s family. The meeting of the two mothers, one Muslim the other Christian was recounting one of the dreams of the revolution - the unity between the members of both faiths in Egypt.
The Ma’Claim crew painted another mural in Cairo after arriving from Alexandria and we gave an artist talk and held an Arabic Graffiti book release downtown at the Townhouse Gallery. CASE stayed in Cairo for his own personal mission.
After painting in front of the Ministry of Interior, and after a lot of thought he decided that a mere reproduction of his portrait of Khaled Said was not enough to convey the message he wanted to tell.
The mural he finally painted, in front of the Townhouse Gallery, is a portrait of an Egyptian boy whom Case met in the street while painting in Cairo. Behind him he placed simple, black stencils of Khaled Said and Mina Daniel. The boy is alive looking forward to the possibilities of a better future for which Khaled and Daniel died.
“The mural represents the hope we all have for the coming generations in Egypt.” CASE
Photo credits: Joel Sames
Special thanks goes to: Goethe Institute Alexandria, Daniel Stoevesandt, Dahlia Rafaat, Shalan Mariam; The Townhouse Gallery Cairo; Angie Balata, Goethe Institute Cairo & Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
Events 11.-23. November – Frankfurt
“A soul for sale or rent”
Exhibition by Case, Andreas von Chrzanowski
Vernissage: 10. November, 7.30pm Brücke66
02. December – Montreal “Arab Winter” Exhibition opening
Sundus Abdul Hadi, Tamara Abdul Hadi, Sawsan Al Saraf, El Seed, Karim Jabbari, Yassin Al Salman (The Narcicyst)
Arabic Graffiti book release and book signing “This is not a regular exhibit – you will leave Montreal and be transported to the streets of Tunis, Damascus, Iraq, and Cairo.” El Seed
Under Pressure Fresh Paint Gallery
180 Saint-Catherine East; Montreal
03.-24. December – Montreal “Arab Winter” Exhibition
Under Pressure Fresh Paint Gallery
Portrait of Khaled Said on the Berlin Wall
posted on 2011-09-23
"They broke down the Berlin Wall for freedom and unity. Kahled Said got killed for the same reason, for freedom and democracy. Khaled would be very happy if he was with us today. We will not forget you Khaled and we will bring your rights back. And we will bring every Egyptian's right back. We are all Khaled Said!" Zahraa Said Kassem
above:"Khaled's rights are Egypt's rights" written by Zahraa Kassem
below:"We are all Khaled Said", calligraphy by Mohamed Gaber painted by Case
On Monday, September 19th, Khaled Said was posthumously awarded the Human Rights Award 2011 together with Slim Amamou from Tunisia in Berlin. Zahraa Kassem, representing her slain brother Khaled Said received the award in his name.
Khaled Said, Egyptian Internet activist, rapper and blogger, was brutally beaten to death by two policemen on 6 June 2010 in Alexandria. His death triggered massive protests and the Facebook page “We are all Khaled Said” became one of the main catalysts of the revolution. Khaled Said, has become a symbolic figure and the face of the revolution in Egypt.
Zahraa Said Kassem
Khaled Said's portrait is immortalized in Egypt in countless graffiti, street art murals and stencils in cities like Alexandria and Cairo. For Khaled Said's sister it was very important to do him that honor in Berlin as well. The famous German photo realist and graffiti artist Andreas von Chrzanowski aka Case painted two original pieces of the Berlin Wall and finished the artwork during the award ceremony.
Zahraa Said Kassem with Slim Amanou
Both pieces of the Berlin Wall originate from the area between the Brandenburger Tor and Potsdamer Platz and were transported to the venue. Each piece weighs 3,8 tons.
The deeply symbolic painting will later be prominently placed at the Freedom Park on the banks of the river Spree. In October this year, the portrait will be painted again by Case in Khaled Said's home town Alexandria, as part of a project with the Goethe Institute.
"We organized this project in three days and none of the thousands of things that could have gone wrong actually did. It is very rare in life that people and events come together like they did here." Don Karl
A photo and video documentation by Joel Sames about the painting process will follow soon.
This is a project by Don Karl, publisher and co-author of the book "Arabic Graffiti" & Hip Hop Stuetzpunkt Berlin - in collaboration with The Dudes Factory (Freedom Park) & Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation.
Joachim Gauck with Andreas von Chrzanowski aka Case
Photos download (Credits: Joel Sames / courtesy of From Here to Fame):