Filmed in Cairo, Egypt on July 26, 2011
If you walk the streets of Cairo, you might see an image of a pudgy panda randomly painted on a wall. That’s the work of Sad Panda, an anonymous graffiti artist in Cairo, Egypt.
The ideas of pandas everywhere, glancing at the world around them on a busy, smog-filled Cairene street is what drives Sad Panda to paint these furry creatures around the city.
But this July, Sad Panda worked on a piece that some would argue is more political than a panda. But what’s the difference between a political panda and an a-political one? The artist himself doesn’t know.
This image, which I did not capture but was widely distributed on the wires during the revolution, (totallycoolpix.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/30012011_egypt_riots_02/egypt_03.jpg) became an iconic symbol of the Army's relationship with the Egyptian people during the first few months of the uprising.
Sad Panda's rendition by Tahrir Square on a summer night was that soldier tossing the baby into a fire, symbolizing the demise of the next generation of Egyptians if the interim government continued ruling the way they did.
Though he contends he largely isn't too interested in politics as art, Sad Panda created the piece as a reflection of the atmosphere in Egypt and the general feeling he gets from the people with regards to the government, currently the ruling military council.
On a steamy July evening under the yellow street lights, passers by stopped to see what was under Sad Panda's stencil.
This was at a time when many people still believed the army was on their side. Eed wa7da—one hand, they would say.
A crowd gathered right after the graffiti was done; people were angry at the negative portrayal of the army. Some men said to give the military council time to prove themselves as leaders, and others said they would face whatever consequences they deserve.
A man, wearing a surgical glove, came up to the graffiti and poured some sort of liquid—gasoline or paint remover—to erase the image from the wall within minutes of his seeing the finished piece. It didn't work.
Sad Panda, his friend and I dashed off to the car before things escalated further.
Two or three days later when I visited the site, someone had painted over the graffiti. The image of the burning generation was no longer there.
Produced, shot and edited by Carmel Delshad
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