The wave of uprisings known as the “Arab Spring” that swept over the Middle East and North Africa from December 2010 to early 2013 left its imprint on the political and social life in the countries concerned. This transient moment also marked a change in various forms of artistic expressions. Street art, graffiti and calligraffiti are among the most striking forms of art that developed during this short period. Artists recorded and commented on events and the developments of the political situation. They drew upon their people’s cultural memory to impart their messages and expressed dissension, civil disobedience and resistance by combining images and scripts. The present essay addresses questions pertaining to the fields of material culture, memory and heritage studies. It explores the materiality of visual art and the translation of political contestation into street art, graffiti and calligraffiti in Egypt. In my use of the term, materiality refers to the physical properties and texture of street art, graffiti and calligraffiti. It also denotes their intangible dimension, their meanings and their relations to people. Translation relates here to cultural contacts and to the interplay between texts, images and contexts from the vantage point of intermediality. The essay probes the ways political slogans were visualised, drawn and inscribed on the walls of the urban space in Cairo and then disseminated on a plethora of Internet platforms and social media. It posits that these media are helping to elaborate the cultural memory and intangible heritage of events from a very recent past. Key words: street art – graffiti – calligraffiti – “Arab Spring” – Egypt - materiality - translation – cultural memory - heritage.
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