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Presented by Independent Egyptian Abroad Alliance Victoria under the patronage of the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism with the support of Multicultural Arts Victoria and the Victorian Multicultural Commission

Art of the Urban Pharaohs

Masterpieces Lost

A visual art exhibition on creative protest and street art: Egypt's popular tools for democratisation

Friday March 21 - Monday 31 March 2014
Yarra Gallery
Federation Square, Melbourne
Gallery hours 11am-6pm
Opening Friday 21st at 2pm - Free

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Art of the Urban Pharaohs - Masterpieces Lost presented by the Independent Egyptian Alliance Victoria opens at Federation Square's Yarra Gallery on Friday 21st March at 2pm.

The exhibition brings together a range of street art and includes portraits of martyrs, complex adaptations of ancient Egyptian art photographed by Ossama Boshra, and art by renowned Egyptian artist Lotfi Abou Sariya.

Using a socio-political approach, the exhibition looks at how street art can be a barometer of popular conflicts and sentiments across the political spectrum.

"There were important anti-capitalist, nationalist and feminist currents of the revolution. Public art can stimulate thinking and invite contemplation and interaction. Aside from their intrinsic value as works of art, we are also fascinated by the way that creative culture and street art have emerged as popular tools for democratization" said Ms Reham Maklad, Exhibition Coordinator.

Universal language

Art is a universal language that transcends cultural barriers, and in the case of Egyptians, their penchant for artistic expression appears deeply rooted.

On the 30th June 2013, Egyptians used their collective voice, by way of a 22 million-strong mass petition, to demand the departure of President Mohamed Morsi and a snap election.

This was widely misrepresented as a 'military coup', owing to the military's adoption of an enabling role and their swift facilitation of the people's will.

The ensuing civil unrest and factional skirmishes set the stage for a collision course between the Islamic brotherhood and a keen pro-secular majority.

Amidst unprecedented chaos and disarray, an important counterpoint has been the emergence of street art as an instrument of peaceful protest.

For some time now, the exhibition committee has been spearheading a public campaign to highlight the innate artistic talent captured in these images most of which, according to the committee, were white-washed in a tenuous game of cat and mouse between the government and its citizens.

Exhibition Committee

The Exhibition Committee said "Egyptians have for thousands of years told their stories in the most creative and colourful ways.

They painted and engraved the walls of their temples and homes.

Today in modern Egypt, the ancient Egyptian ancestral talent resurfaces as a byproduct of the ongoing revolutionary changes taking place.

This is not scribble graffiti such as 'Mido loves Susan'. The graffiti represents the imagination of resilient people. The artworks are precious and ought to be considered as tools of protest and dialogue that are stronger and more enduring than the tyrannical rulers contemporary Egypt has seen".

This exciting project is a collaborative venture showing the power of unity whilst reflecting and promoting cultural as well as religious diversity

Media queries

Please contact exhibition coordinator, Ms Reham Maklad, on Email reham.m65@gmail.com or call mobile 0425 745 375.


Painting by Alaa Awad (photography by Ossama Boshra)

Poster painting by Alaa Awad and Lotfi Abo Sariya

Producers and supporters