Cairo’s streets witnessed two graffiti murals being added to its burgeoning street art scene from the famous German photo realist and graffiti artist, Andreas von Chrzanowski, or as he’s more popularly known on the street, CASE. Originally invited along with his crew Ma’Claim (or ‘My Part) for Goethe-Institute Alexandria’s ongoing project “Graffiti: Style, History, Experience” project, CASE decided to stay on and complete a mission of his own, part duty and part personal.
His duty, or rather what he feels is a personal obligation, was to bring his rendition of Khaled Said from Berlin to Cairo. CASE was the creative mastermind behind the Khaled Said portrait on two slabs from the Berlin Wall and his aim in Cairo was to recreate this same portrait, but, this time, adding another martyr, Mina Daniel. The project proved much more daunting to produce on Cairo’s still politically charged streets. Through conversations with local artists and gallery directors who warned against the possible negative reaction from the street and the overproduction of Daniel and Said figures all over Egypt, CASE decided that an abstract interpretation would be a more authentic creation.
Down one of the tight side streets of Cairo’s downtown and home to the prominent Townhouse Gallery lies CASE’s mural. Passing an industrial base of car repair shops, the mural sits comfortably between a calligrapher and a glassmaker’s shop. At the forefront is the face of a boy whom CASE had met while spraying another wall for one of Goethe-Institute’s Cairo locations. The boy, so real you forget he is graffiti, smiles innocently, his red t-shirt expertly integrated with the colors of the wall. Behind him are simple, black stencils of Mina Daniel and Khaled Said. For CASE, “the mural represents the hope we all have for the coming generations in Egypt.” It is a message of continuity, of hope beyond the sometimes ugly past.
On another wall and in a much more crowded street lies CASE’s personal mission. Strategically placed across from the Ministry of Interior, on the walls of MAKAN, this mural is his own message. Spraying the bottom half of his face, CASE attaches a word bubble with his fingers, placed instead of words, holding up the PEACE sign.
CASE was joined by the prolific independent photographer and videographer, Joel Sames, whose short video documentation on the making of the Khaled Said portrait in Berlin impacted audiences in Cairo and Alexandria.
Angie Batala, Cairo