Graffiti on Amed walls


I had a burst of emotion: “that’s it”. I had just seen an enormous “Kurdistan” writing in yellow, red and green on a wall in Amed
I had a burst of emotion and said “that’s it” when I saw the enormous “Kurdistan” writing which was written in yellow, red and green colours on a wall in Amed where I was walking day dreaming in a period when I as usual took a short break in my education adventure which I didn’t give up despite all difficulties upon Pê?ewa Qazî Mihemed’s last will regarding the education of next generations of Kurds… Yes, this was the method…Now that this territory is ours and it is denied its name, then we should in the easiest way show the whole world that this territory is ours…
Waking from sleep one day, people would see the “Kurdistan” writing on all walls of the buildings which would be decorated with the silhouettes of Kurdish leaders and they would feel and live the thousands of years old Kurdistan history on all the streets they walk through…

I felt excited when I first heard the “Kurdish Graffiti” word on the social media after many years, I went after my dream and interviewed Twoaf & Harakiri couple who were the initiators of this work in Kurdistan. I was full of hope about my dream when I ended the interview and I hope the Kurdistan youth will also have the same dream with me after reading this interview and when we wake up one day…

Could you shortly tell us what the graffiti is?

Graffiti is the enlivenment of a rebellion on a wall. When we look at its history, we see that the first graffiti were the symbols that the people travelling in Egypt drew on walls to leave a name or a sign on their way. Afterwards, in the 60’s, political groups in America started to leave their sign on walls to express their ideas and street gangs to determine and announce the regions they dominated. And the graffiti culture advanced as of 80’s as the people placed emphasis on visuality instead of giving messages. In short, graffiti is the art of drawing on walls.

Could you tell us about yourself, when you met graffiti and what attracted your attention in it?

As Twoaf and Harakiri, we gathered under the name of HPGraffiti group in the summer of 2010 and we started our works in Kurdistan’s heart Amed city. We were interested in graffiti in relation to our interest in drawing. We met the graffiti art after we had decided to advance our drawing and to carry it into other areas. What appealed us in graffiti was to reach our message to large masses through a spray and a wall.

Do you follow and get in touch with other groups around the world, do you know about Banksy for example?

There are for sure some names such as Dare, Reso, Mode2 and Wson whom we follow up but couldn’t establish a connection with yet. It is as a matter of fact not as easy as thought to get in touch with those names, you can just follow their drawings and workings. For instance, Wson is a writer from Amed who is known with 3D graffiti. As to Banksy who performs quite political works is known only with his works, not personally. Graffiti artists are generally known with their works. We in this respect extend our warm thanks to Banksy who directed our attention to Stencil.

Can everyone draw graffiti? Do you think it is a matter of talent?

I think this question should be asked as “can everyone draw professional graffiti?” because people at all ages can draw graffiti and the point to be discoursed in graffiti is its artistic side and the message it wants to give. It is a matter of working hard and practicing, not a talent.

Do you imitate the drawings of others or do you have your own style?

We for sure took some drawings as example when we first started to draw graffiti. We were trying to draw the graffiti we had seen, in short we were imitating others but in time we started to form our own style and we drew with new character and color styles. We became known as we developed our own style.

How should a graffitist act in your opinion?

She/he should have a personality that can run as fast as a sportsman, think as fast as a mathematician and act so cold-blooded and decide quickly as a thief. The works they do should leave marks from their lives and society and they should reflect their own mood to their works. An artistic work could only be created in this way.

What kind of difficulties do you face while drawing graffiti? Which kind of reactions do you get from the people, various circles and age groups? Are you supported by the public?

The biggest problem is the lack of materials as graffiti is an expensive branch of art for us. We for example have to use several colors when we need to use six colors for a drawing.

Besides positive reactions, the works we do also get negative responses which are of great importance and never disturb us. The negative responses are generally strong because of the fact that we do political works. However, these reactions don’t keep us from doing our work; they on the contrary lead us to continue our works more persistently. We are on the other hand supported and praised by many people on social media and this makes us feel happy.

What kind of works do you do?

The slogan-like works we perform in graffiti, sketch and stencil are the matters related with the social life.

How much do you use Kurdish language in your works?

The language isn’t of priority as we do our works v-by drawing but we use Kurdish more often than Turkish and we often use the three sacred colors of the nature; kesk,sor,zer (green, red, yellow).

To what extend political are your works? In other words, to what extend do they consist of Kurdistanî items?

Graffiti is a definite illegal art, in other words, you can face problems even if consists of an innocent message. As to the political aspect of this art, we try to do our works secretly if they have a political context. When this is the case, drawing Kurdistanî items requires an extreme courage. When we find a proper place and time, we certainly make use of the opportunity and reflect Kurdistan’s freedom on the walls.

I wonder if people demand “PKK, HPG and Öcalan” graffiti from you.

Yes, quite a lot. We have earlier drawn Öcalan’s picture on some certain streets of Amed with a rebellious spirit and the people who knew that those drawings were made by us called and thanked us and asked us to spread this drawing to wider areas.

I have a dream about seeing Kurdistan graffiti on all walls of Amed when we wake from sleep one day. What is the probability of the realization of this dream?

This question reminds us of Libya where the idea of graffiti drawing was prohibited and even criticizing the system ended in death. However, free Libya themed drawings were made on all the walls of Libya after the fall of Gaddafi. Covering Amed’s streets with “Kurdistan” writings is not an impossible thing which we believe we will certainly actualize in the near future.

You are involved in an illegal art (according to Turkish State’s laws). Have you ever been caught by police?

No, we have never been caught but we faced the risk of being caught. We were chased by persons on whose wall we drew graffiti without permission. I from here call on those who chase after us; “show some respect to the art”.

What do you like the most in drawing graffiti?

All prohibited things have always been interesting for human beings. The thing we like the most in graffiti is its being illegal.

Do you have any video works as well?

We had many videos published on the social media but they were all gone when our Youtube account was closed. Still, we have some videos of our new works.

How is your relationship with the social media where we often see your works? Do you have connections over social media with other graffiti drawers in other cities and parts of Kurdistan? If you don’t, how could we help you as the first and only social media agency of Kurdistan?

We can obtain effective results and be heard from four sides of Kurdistan when we correctly use the social media. Although we generally use the social media while getting in contact with Kurdish young people who are interested in this art, this communication remains insufficient since many writers interested in graffiti have no awareness of social problems and they handle west-style themes. We believe graffiti will also affect this rebellion fire by means of your contribution as well. To see freedom graffiti everywhere and on all walls will no doubt lead people to think differently. Our profound thanks to you for interviewing us as the first and only social media agency of Kurdistan and we wish you a continued success.

*We translated this piece by Serhat ?êr. First published in AjansAmed (

Serhat ?êr * / DIYARBAKIR/AMED

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