Med Graffiti

Interview made by Orsolo Casagrande (italian journalist at the daily newspaper “Il Manifesto”) in Amed with the Kurdish graffiti group “Med Graffiti”.

Med Graffiti

1. You choose graffiti art to express yourself. What were your reasons for choosing this particular form of art?

* For those who are not being acknowledged by those in power as legal society groups exist limited opportunities to express themselves and to make themselves visible. As you know, nowadays it is easy to push all the good rules in a corner and close your eyes to injustices happening outside your door or to not think about the civil war (tearing your country apart) while sitting on the couch switching the channels of your latest television model. As you also know, some animals mark their territory with faeces and scratch marks. Oppressed groups mark their land and suddenly they find themselves on the opposing side to the government. On one side is the revolutionary resistance front, and on the other side is a technological armed army or the government and state bodies. The first ones fight for a basic legal recognition and the second side continuous to suppress this claim. Because we can, we leave graffiti “scratch marks” in our area.

2. What did you know before about graffiti and graffiti artists?

* In fact, we were interested in an art that focuses on visualization. So, we came across graffiti. We have also researched graffiti art in theoretical terms. Especially the works of Banksy motivated us. In terms of the political, ecological, etc. problems of people and society we see a strong expressive power in graffiti.

3. Are you one group that sparks a lot of interest? How do you integrate these young people in your group?

* Because we are, the first political graffiti group in Kurdistan we are growing slowly. Due to the socio-economic reality which we are subjected to, we can not adequately work on our . We would like to work with graffiti artists from all over the world with a heart for revolution and freedom, and invite them to our group.

4. In spite of the consequences that could follow, you show through this art form that the city is yours. What is graffiti on the walls of Amed for you?

* Due to political and social factors the city of Amed plays a major role. That’s why this big city has a significant place in this area. Of course there is no reality that is not influenced by class divisions, capitalist and imperialist structures. In addition to these conditions, which complicate the situation, it is even more important to use the art against injustice and the inequality. Because we are pioneers, we have to assume, of course, to be confronted with difficulties. As the first political graffiti group in Kurdistan it is very important for us to mark the walls of Amed with our art.

5. Where is the emphasis in your conceptual political-social Graffi-Art?

* Industrialization and the modern inventions lead us to use our minds destroy human kind. Social problems proliferate from day to day to the disadvantage of the oppressed. Nature, animals, human relationships are being destroyed and vanish due to the dominance of consumer logic. At this very moment we come into play. These factors, which we are focusing on are the catalyst for us. Of course, the political aspect is added. As a group we are positioning ourselves on the side of the Kurdish liberation movement. In addition to Kurdistan, which is primary for us we show our solidarity with the revolutionary struggles in other countries.

6. Are there any works of you that are dedicated to the affected (Kurdish) children in prisons? What are your thoughts on this? What does it mean in the current times to be young in Amed?

* We have works that deal with the affected (Kurdish) children in prisons. In particular, (in our art) we try to move affected (Kurdish) children into the foreground, who are for example condemned for „throwing stones“ (in the protests) with the help of the Anti-Terror Law. In Amed any form of protest and attempt will find itself choked by government agencies in the bud. Abuse, violence, sexual harassment – any degradation are approved agenda. Every day there are prison riots, but these events are not discussed by the pro-government media. Both nationally and internationally these problems should receive more public attention. For this we need the organized power of the media. We will continue our fight until the end, as long as not only the stories of those in power (lion) but those of the Oppressed (Gazellel) are told.

7. What place does music in your works have? What kind of music are you listening to?

* In our graffitis we try to place the pictorial elements in the foreground. Notes and audio elements have an important position in the graffitis alongside the drawn elements, so we try to integrate the music into our work. In our group we have various tastes in music. There are people who listen to the Dengbêj, the traditional Kurdish music genre, Keny Arkana, System of a Down and Azad. Furthermore, the famous Kurdish rapper and artist Serhado, who is especially known among the Kurdish youth, should not go unmentioned. Serhado, you can say is our source of inspiration. He is the best artist because he succeeds in expressing our feelings in our (Kurdish) mother language in a style that we like very much.

Dengbêj: (Kurdish) is a professional folk song vocalist who performs secular songs without instrumental accompaniment which is an ancient tradition in Kurdistan.

Keny Arkana: is a French rapper from Marseille. Her lyrics are political, she takes a clear position against capitalism, fascism and globalization.

System of a Down: (abbreviated SoaD) was founded in 1995 in California. They are an alternative metal band that combine different musical genres. All band members are of Armenian descent.

Azad: is a German rapper of Kurdish origin.

Serhado: Kurdish rapper

8. Graffiti art and hip-hop music are very closely linked. How is it in Amed?

* In Amed, the number of graffiti artists are limited. Those who do graffiti with us are also active in other areas. As we are pioneers our projects develop slowly. An explicit hip-hop and street music scene has not yet developed in Amed. But we are evolving day by day.

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