|Field||Public art, stenciling, street art, graffiti|
El Teneen is the pseudonym of an anonymous 29 year-old Egyptian street artist and graffiti artist whose work has gained popularity and notoriety in Egypt following the 2011 Egyptian Revolution. El Teneen means "the dragon" in Arabic. El Teneen originally formed one half of the pair "Team El Teneen", or "Dragon Team", however the artist (identified by Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper as a male) now works primarily independently. His works of art have been described as "icons of the 25 January revolution."
Career and Politics
El Teneen was not an experienced artist before the 2011 revolution, having focused primarily on abstract painting and studying a field related to science, and he reportedly works in graphic design. Since the revolution, his work has been noted for its revolutionary character and its criticism of SCAF. A self-described graffiti artist, El Teneen says on his associated Twitter profile that "I spray shit on walls in Cairo streets."
Political street art was not common in Egypt prior to the 2011 revolution, however it has proliferated in public spaces in the post-revolution era. Artwork targeting the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, or SCAF, in particular has surged in popularity since the revolution because, according to The Christian Science Monitor, such "anti-military graffiti is a reflection of Egyptian activists’ frustration with the military rulers, who they say replaced one autocracy with another." However, although graffiti in particular has proliferated in Egyptian cities since the revolution, El Teneen has noted that most of it "is not political ... Maybe we can say that people are expressing themselves, but the streets aren't ours yet.” El Teneen has also stated that his artwork is not solely political, stating that "Even if the political situation here is resolved ... we will still have to talk about women, religion and other issues."
El Teneen's artwork has been noted for its political nature. In particular, a spray-painted image of a chessboard depicting a toppled king surrounded by bishops, knights and rooks opposed by several rows of amassed pawns that the artist drew on the campus of the American University in Cairo was widely noted. El Teneen's work is not solely political, however, as he also participated in an exhibition entitled "Black and White," in which he depicted a series of cultural icons of Egyptian cinema, including Umm Kulthum and Hind Rostom.
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- Ati Metwaly (February 12, 2011). "Has the Egyptian revolution given birth to new Banksys?". Al Ahram English. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- Camille Lepage (July 19, 2011). "Flaming up Cairo's walls: Q&A with anonymous street artist El Teneen". Egypt Independent. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- Kristen Chick (May 26, 2011). "Egyptian graffiti artist Ganzeer arrested amid surge in political expression". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- Erin Biel. "Graffiti Nation". The Cairo Review of Global Affairs. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- Sara Elkamel (February 27, 2012). "Egypt's golden era stars shine in pop-graffiti exhibition". Al Ahram English. Retrieved 13 May 2012.