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Hamza Salim, D. Alwan, Islam Shabana, and Hend Kheera, Underpass of the Eyes of Freedom

Union Depot

Mohamed Mahmoud Street. Photo credit: Unknown (

Hend Kheera. Photo credit: Transterra Media/Michael Downey.

Tahrir Square (Captured 29 August 2012). Photo credit: Mona Abaza.

Bashar Al Assad. Photo credit: Unknown (

Street in Libya. Photo credit: Unknown (

Oum Kalthoum. Photo credit: unknown (

Underpass of the Eyes of Freedom

Wander into an underpass of the Arab Spring. Take a spray can, an Arabic stencil: reinscribe here potent global expressions of resistance and change.

Mohamed Mahmoud Street borders Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt. It is also known as Street of the Eyes of Freedom in honor of those who were wounded during protests. Emblematic of other public spaces in revolutionary Arab countries, this street is a site of provocative and vibrant street art, rendering an ongoing dialogue of the emerging realities of democratization. With Underpass of the Eyes of Freedom, Mizna invites festival-goers to pay homage to this site of art in struggle and engage in a simple, creative gesture of solidarity.

In the spirit of Mizna’s literary mission and focus on Arab experience, this installation is meant to fuse for participants a tactile encounter with a foreign language, distant trials of political empowerment, and a universally popular art form. It’s a touch of what’s been happening in Arab countries on the street, beyond the news stories. As Occupy Wall Street and other local and national movements here have shown, the aspirations across the world are akin to our own.

Take a few minutes to tag a piece on the underpass. Watch out for the whitewashers . . .