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The Arab Spring: Popular Culture and the Shaabi Arts: Egypt

This guide covers developments in pop culture in parts of the Arab world affected by the Arab Spring and more recent political movements. Countries of focus include Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and Egypt

Sample Keywords

  • #Jan25
  • January 25 Revolution 
  • ثورة ٢٥ يناير
  • 2011 Egyptian Uprising 
  • الإنتفاضة المصرية عام ٢٠١١ 
  • Egyptian Uprising
  • الإنتفاضة المصرية
  • Egyptian Protests
  • الاحتجاج المصري
  • Pro-Democracy Movements Egypt
  • الحركات المؤيدة للديمقراطية المصرية
  • Revolution Egypt
  • الثورة المصرية
  • "Arab Spring" Egypt
  • الربيع العربي في مصر
  • Tahrir Square 
  • ميدان التحرير
  • Days of Rage in Egypt 
  • يوم الغضب في مصر
  • #tahrir 
  • التحرير#

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Pop Culture


(PC: Al Arabiya)

Egyptian pop culture was transformed by the January 25th revolution, as political will and anger found shape in music, writing, art, and myriad other forms of expression. Today, this art has taken up a number of different subjects and tones, ranging from solidarity with other revolutionaries, to sorrow over unfulfilled political promises, to hope for further change yet to come.

General Resources:


Egyptian hip hop has a closer international connection than many other forms of hip hop in the Middle East, which gives rise to many international collaborations, either between native and diaspora artists, between diaspora and international artists, or some combination besides Another result of this international collaboration is the representation of many recognizable styles from other parts of the world within Egyptian the Egyptian scene, such as trap music. Egyptian hip hop's political dimensions vary from artist to artist, depending on their own political affiliations and levels of interest.

#Jan25 Egypt

This is a special collaboration project between Egyptian American, African American, and other hip hop artists and producers, which was released days after (and named after) the generally-accepted starting date of the Egyptian revolution of 2011.

Artist Profiles


Graffiti and street art were an important part of Egypt's popular political culture in the wake of the January 25th uprising, and remain one of its enduring legacies. This art oftentimes depicts the faces of heroes, villains, and otherwise political figures, as well as short, poetic messages calling for revolution and change.

General Resources:


graffiti depicting a guy fawkes mask framed by an nemes headdress

(PC: Saphinaz-Amal Naguib)

graffiti depicting a chess board with a large number of pawns on one side, and a small number of high-value pieces on the other

(PC: Saphinaz-Amal Naguib)

post-revolution graffiti depicting a gun and bayonet forming an "X" over the "O" of the word "NO" in the phrase "No more"

(PC: suzeeinthecity)

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