Postcard Seller in a revolution

Post Card Seller In A Revolution

I met this girl selling postcards outside Giza in 2011, the year the revolution had started. She is the first face that I have painted that touches on the issues of the country I’d just returned from. You could say she is the seed of Art For Action.

Mixed media on canvas 60 x 90cm. Please contact the artist Rose illingworth for sales enquiries.

Prints available.

I travelled to Egypt with some friends while the country was still in turmoil, Cairo still with a heavy military presence and Tahir Square still packed with protesters. We had such a warm welcome from the people of Cairo, as they were so delighted to see foreigners on their streets who had not been deterred by the warnings to stay away. My friend’s daughter, 8 at the time, sat with families in Tahir Square and had Egypt’s national colours painted on her face, receiving many hugs and kisses.

Egyptians first started protesting against President Hosni Mubarak’s 3 decade long rule after they had watched Tunisia’s ousting of their long-term President Ben Ali. Millions of protesters from a range of socioeconomic and religious backgrounds demanded the overthrow of Mubarak. Violent clashes between protesters and security forces resulted in at least 846 people killed and over 6,000 injured.

During the uprising Cairo was described as ‘ A War Zone’. A mass of 20 million outraged citizens flooded the streets of the nation, probably the world’s largest demonstration in history. For 18 days Tahir Square turned into a stand-off between the anti- and pro-government sides. When the army was deployed, civilians welcomed them and treated them as ‘their own’ and the army refused to use force against their own people. At the same time police were opening fire on protesters, fuelling more anger as police brutality was a major cause for the uprising in the first place.