An anonymous emblem in the public sphere, Keizer is recognized for the unmistakable imprints of his stencils across Cairo. Last November, Egypt’s most famous graffiti artist embarked on a trip across Europe to represent Egypt in art exhibitions in Germany, Holland, Italy and London.
1) How did you reach out to Europe?
Since 2011, I have been approached by 25 offers to be a part of exhibitions in Europe and I rejected all of them. When you immerse your soul into a socio-political revolutionary movement, you don’t really have the time or the luxury of thinking of commercial gain or the commodification of street art through foreign or local attention.
When I was in Tahrir the first 18 days, I wasn’t creating street art. There was no need for it at the time. I needed to absorb and enjoy this awakening and newfound unity we were experiencing at the square, because I wanted to be present and integrate with this historic and special corner in time. It was right after it that I started working on the streets.
I knew there would be a time for Europe, Dubai, Lebanon, and the world. But as an Egyptian and Arab Nationalist, Egypt always came first.
2) Why remain anonymous, even abroad?
The work speaks for itself. My face and personality are of no relevance to the message nor is it public property. Street art is a global expression that is greater than one or ten artists.
3) Is the symbolism that you use easily understood in other countries?
Generally speaking, there are certain metaphors and symbols that trigger associations with the people in connection with existing stereotypes, values, and sensations.
Street art can modify and reshape the existing narratives, as the interpretations of symbols are not uniform but negotiable. However, the interpretation lies beyond the control of the street artist. Symbols are not constants, they are fluid and may change in meaning throughout time and space.
For more information: Follow Keizer on his Facebook Page.