Known as Spray Man, Nour Hatem Zahra, one of the founders of the Freedom Graffiti Week Syria page on Facebook, bled to death on April 29 after getting shot in the leg while out on a spray painting mission. May he rest in peace, and may the Syrian people rise victorious and free of tyranny.
This is a short comic about the notion of culture that I created for a book to be published by the European Culture Congress giving a little retrospective about the congress that took place in September 2011. The comic even features a funny little cameo by Zygmunt Bauman, a Polish sociologist and Bogdan Zdrojewski, Poland's Minister of Culture on the first couple of pages.
Although, I might've been invited to the Katowice Street Art Festival solely to give a little presentation, which I sure did, I couldn't help but leave a little gift on the streets of Katowice, partially in response to this article by Iwona Sobczyk in Polish newspaper Gazeta in which she states something along the lines of:
"Ganzeer arrives at Katowice to talk about it all [revolutionary street-art]. One can only hope that he will also want to leave us some of his work."
And so I created this towards the end of Katowice's Mariacka Tylna street:
The motivation behind creating this particular piece in Katowice came as a result of unescapable signs of the city's loving embrace of extreme consumerism! Most especially the consumerism of non-Polish brands.You see it in the massive billboards that adorn this small town, advertising everything from juice brands to H&M to The Gap! There are several shopping-dedicated streets and malls around Katowice, and many more to come judging from the major reconstruction efforts taking place around the city.
Yes, that is Chuck Norris in a Polish bank advert.
This prompted adorning the figure wearing the Polish Mask of Freedom with a Gap shirt, Adidas pants, and Converse shoes. The two massive hammers are a nod to the city's history as a workers city, most particularly in the mining industry. You see those hammers used in the logo design of most anything relating to the city's history.
One thing I noticed that totally slipped my mind was to add the wings onto the sides of the Mask of Freedom!
original Mask of Freedom sticker created in May 2011
But hey, anyone out there in Katowice who feels obliged to add those missing wings, by all means, please be my guest!
I also gave a small presentation revolving around the importance of street-art throughout 2011 in Egypt to a small yet interested crowd in the intimate setting of the Kato bar on Mariacka st. Though I must admit that it was the smallest crowd I've ever presented to.
photo by Pawel Mrowiec
photo by Pawel Mrowiec
All in all though, I had a great time in Katowice. Had the chance to explore an interesting city with a lot of potential cooking under its belly, and met a great crowd of Polish street-art enthusiasts as well as some of the biggest names in the international street-art world, such as Mark Jenkins, Escif, Moneyless, Tellas, Roa, and many others. Not only was it great to see them at work first-hand, but it was also just cool to sit back and chill out with them.