LOS ANGELES — The image above has been making the rounds on social media this week. What you’re looking at is a wall in Cairo painted to look like it’s not a wall, like it goes through and enters into Tahrir Square. According to the New York Times, in December, the Egyptian military erected a number of walls to divide the streets that connect to government power centers. A recent report in France24 says more walls have been put up since then.
Egyptian graffiti [sic] artists arranged a No Walls protests last Friday (March 9, 2012), where they painted the walls away into stunning murals to commemorate the dead and protest the obstacles built by painting eye-deceiving, virtual continuations to the blocked streets (Trompe-l’œil). Almost every wall around the area was painted on by young artists who joined hands and brushes for over three days, turning the area into a lasting memorial.
Other walls were painted with silhouettes of children and families playing under a rainbow, and another includes large-scale portraits. All of these repurpose the wall and humanize the struggle. But perhaps the trompe l’oeil mural is the most powerful, in helping passers-by remember the days when the wall didn’t exist at all.
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