Art and the Revolutions in the Middle East

As revolution sweeps across the Middle East, art and graffiti has played a big role in communicating attitudes and making change happen.   A major guiding artistic light seems to be Shepard Fairey and his patterned prints as well as his iconic “HOPE” poster, originally used to promote President Obama’s campaign as I’m sure we all remember.  I’m pretty critical of Fairey’s artwork, but undoubtedly his “HOPE” image was an iconic masterpiece that grabbed the attention of the nation and the world and essentially supplanted the official campaign logo.  The ironic deployment of his style for Gaddafi is nothing less than delicious.

I feel mostly the same way about Banksy’s work, if you’ve seen his new work in LA then maybe you are longing for his old work that carried a heavy political charge, when it wasn’t, well, piss on the side of a building (check the link to see what I mean).  Similar to Fairey’s work, it’s good to see someone else breath life into Banksy’s motifs.

Be sure to check out’s compilation of protest art and graffiti, both in Egypt and in Libya.

We like to think that art is powerless, that it’s just a pretty picture you buy for a wall. But real art has power, and protesters are using that power to topple governments and, hopefully, move to a more democratic Middle East.

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