The Politics of Egyptian Fine Art: Giving a Voice to the People

Source: The Century Foundation
Author(s): Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi

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Egyptian artists have a long history of political engagement. Even in the mid-twentieth century, when they mostly relied on state funding, they made critiques of the ruling regimes, and created one of the few spaces where independent political thought could brew. Egyptian artists—like their counterparts in many other countries in the region—have long been in closer touch with the mood of average people than the repressive governments have been, and they have served as both bellwethers and instigators of change. When the revolution broke out in 2011, Egyptian artists were thus well positioned to take on a much more direct, activist role, and many did. Art changed as well, becoming more accessible and purpose-driven. Now, as the tide again has turned to authoritarianism, the unbridled hope of the uprising has waned, negatively affecting art as much as any other part of the revolution…

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