Ammar Abo Bakr (Egypt, 1980) is a mural artist whose work adorns walls in cities from Cairo, to Luxor, Alexandria, Beirut, Frankfurt, Berlin, Amsterdam and Brussels.
His best known work is his mural honoring those who have lost their lives in ongoing clashes with the security state in Egypt. It is situated on Mohamed Mahmoud Street, which leads to Cairo’s Tahrir Square, a main site of protests during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011.
In the lead up to and during the Egyptian Revolution street artists used their medium both as a means of protest against the government and as a means of communicating with one another. Abo Bakr’s murals—employing brightly colored traditional and contemporary motifs inspired by a study of the Egyptian people—are a form or reportage. In an online interview the artist explained:
“What we did in Egypt in recent years was not about presenting art, at least it wasn’t to me: We used walls as a newspaper … I was a fine arts assistant professor. I left the faculty to report on the revolution on the city’s walls.”
In August 2014 Abo Bakr took part in the RE-ALIGNED project To The Square 2 as part of On the Move, organised in partnership with HIAP and Perpetuum Mobile (PM). He was co-hosted as an Artist at Risk by Perpetuum Mobile and HIAP–Helsinki International Artists Programme.
To the Square 2 was commissioned by Checkpoint Helsinki as a part of the Helsinki Festival. Taking over the central Lasipalatsi Square, the project aimed to address artistic and political movements on several continents. The programme was curated by Perpetuum Mobile’s Ivor Stodolsky & Marita Muukkonen as part of Perpetuum Mobilε’s Re-Aligned Project. It was funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation.