Rami Afifi on Palestinian art and pop culture

(all rights and credit to Rami Afifi)

Rami Afifi is a Palestinian-Egyptian graphic designer and artist who has created a vibrant portfolio of local street art in and around the Middle East as well as globally. For Hypebeast, Camillia Kazem spoke to Rami about Palestine, his projects, and how nostalgia influences his work:

You’re well-renowned for acknowledging Palestinian culture and creating around it – could you talk about what inspires you the most and how you like to portray the culture in your work?

One thing I learned from being a member of the Palestinian diaspora is that home is not necessarily a piece of land, but rather a collection of memories, art, music and traditions. Really anything that can transport you there.

I had often disregarded my Arab identity thinking it wasn’t important and aspired to be like artists from the west who I idolized, but over time, I found that my Arab-ness was what defined me. I used to tell people that I thought Fine Art was bulls**t and that my art didn’t have meaning, but rather was all about an aesthetic. What I find now is that by creating art as a Palestinian, that already gives my work lots of meaning. All of these nostalgic elements, the pop culture, these are things that give me a sense of identity, considering I had no home to go back to. With the rise of social media I found that by focusing on the subject of Palestine I could create awareness for our cause.

Related to Palestinian media: a guide to Palestinian cinema for newbies (by Hyperallergic), The mixed media pop art of Rasha Eleyan, and a free copy of ‘Greater than the Sum of Our Parts: Feminism, Inter/Nationalism, and Palestine’ by Nada Elia

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