12th hour graffiti campaign in yemen surfaces political concern
12th hour graffiti campaign in yemen surfaces political concern 12th hour graffiti campaign in yemen surfaces political concern
aug 27, 2013

12th hour graffiti campaign in yemen surfaces political concern

12th hour graffiti campaign in yemen surfaces political concern
images courtesy of murad sobay




responding to the widespread social upheaval spreading throughout his country, yemeni artist and activist murad sobay initiated the ’12th hour’ campaign — a series of street art murals, paintings, and graffiti that discuss 12 cultural concerns the country is currently engaged in. the artworks are emblazoned across the walls of the yemeni capital of sana’a, and unfold as an hour-by-hour series, all in pursuit of cultivating awareness of the problems in a peaceful and participatory way. the project is sustained by a massive public response — initiated through a call-to-action on facebook. citizens demonstrate their interest in the creative campaign by taking to the streets with sobay and painting the walls with powerful messages about government and policy. the walls transform into expository stories, which shed light on the consequences of anti-government demonstrations and alternatively encourage a non-violent discourse.


in the first hour of the campaign, sobay took on the significant concern regarding gun violence in yemen, a country which, according to aljazeera‘s 2012 figures, has the second highest rate of gun ownership in the world. the spread of arms in yemeni society is an urgent, potentially pandemic problem and one of the country’s biggest cultural obstacles.


an image taken from the second hour of the street art movement addressed sectarianism



the second hour of the political art campaign addresses sectarianism, the shia-sunni divide which has long caused tensions between the two religious sects. with the a population of yemen divided at approximately 45% shia muslims and 55% sunni muslims, the country is experiencing a rise in sectarianism, which often lead to manifestations of hatred, bigotry, and destabilizing revolts.



the yemeni flag being painted over the word ‘sectarianism’



a symbol for ‘no to sectarianism’



enforced disappearances, or government denial of incarceration and arrest, is the topic of sobay’s third hour of art intervention. the subject focuses on state executed kidnappings, an issue which the artist previously addressed in the creative campaign ‘the walls remember’. the mass participation event draws the public to the streets and illustrates the faces of people who are unaccounted for, alongside the place and date of disappearance, which appear in arabic and english.



two women hold up a stencil which bears the name of an individual who has disappeared



the public comes to the street to participate in’the walls remember’ campaign



a line of faces are displayed on the wall in yemen



a stencil bears the image of a man



stacks of cut-out stencils expose how many faces of disappeared people will be printed on the wall



participants spray the image of a boy onto the wall



a yemeni woman takes part in the graffiti movement



    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
    all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    art news

    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    502,531 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample