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Graffiti Artists Express Their View Saying 'Homeland is Racist' on Walls of The Series' Set!

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October 15, 2015
Pavle Ivanovic hides behind the pen name of Bob Lansroth as he tries to explore the boundless diversity of artists and the various ways in which they strive to escape the quotidian life. It is through the creative force within us that we must attempt to connect with one another and share our ideas with the world.

The award-winning political thriller television show Homeland has received many accolades and primetime awards, but it has also garnered a certain amount of criticism over its portrayal of the Middle East and Muslims. In the latest episode, the graffiti artists who were hired to add authenticity to a scene, used their artwork to display their views of the show. The three Arabian street artists subversively created graffiti which openly criticized the show and accused it of being racist.

Graffiti Artists Implemented their Own Opinion of the Show

Left: 'Freedom … now in 3D' . Right: 'Homeland is watermelon' (which is slang for not to be taken seriously) series october video homeland 2015 racist arabic episode camp make amin refugee
Left: ‘Freedom … now in 3D’ / Right: ‘Homeland is watermelon’ (which is slang for not to be taken seriously)

The Hired Graffiti Artists Used the Opportunity to Claim Back their Image

Hired by a production company, back in June, the artists were instructed to write some graffiti as a way to enhance the aesthetic authenticity of the set on the outskirts of Berlin. The scene in question revolved around a refugee camp and was supposed to contain pro-President Bashar al-Assad graffiti, but instead, the three men behind the spray cans had other ideas in mind. Amin, Caram Kapp and Stone are the three bold street artists employed to paint the set. Like many other critics and audiences, they criticized Homeland for portraying Arabs, Pakistanis and Afghans in a highly inaccurate, undifferentiated and very biased way. As Amin told to the journalists, this kind of stereotyping produced by popular TV-shows and movies encourages people to form false perceptions of entire regions, nations and countries, which in turn affects foreign policy. The graffiti writers saw this as an opportunity to claim back their image and express a different opinion from the one that is usually pushed on the viewer of the show. If you want to discover something more about the Middle East graffiti, click here.

Homeland was often Criticized for its Stereotypical Depiction of other Nations

Graffiti 'Homeland is racist series october video homeland 2015 racist arabic episode camp make amin refugee
Graffiti ‘Homeland is racist’

“Homeland is Racist”

Upon examining the actual scene and the artists’ photos, the graffiti that made it onto the set includes phrases like “Homeland is NOT a series”, “This show does not represent the views of the artists” and “Homeland is watermelon”. The artist known as Stone was hired to find other colleagues to work on the project, but he soon learned this was going to be difficult due to their political standpoints. After a while, they came up with the idea to implement Arabic proverbs and poetic slogans that could be interpreted in a certain way as subversive. After doing just that, the group realized that no one was paying attention or even wondering what they were actually writing, so they soon discovered that they could write literally whatever they wanted. Besides the already mentioned phrases, they embellished the scene with other slogans such as “#BlackLivesMatter”, “The situation is not to be trusted” and “Homeland is racist”

Actor Mandy Patinkin in a scene of season four of Homeland series october video homeland 2015 racist arabic episode camp make amin refugee
Actor Mandy Patinkin in a scene of season four of Homeland

Not the First Time Homeland Encounters Controversy

It wasn’t really a surprise for the artists to see their subversive graffiti actually make it onto the show, because they knew there wasn’t much research and energy invested into accurately depicting the region. As the graffiti trio stated, the Arabic script was not even checked by the producers, the content of what was written was of no concern to them, it served merely as a supplementary visual that fitted the stereotypical horror-fantasy of the Middle East. Homeland has encountered open criticism about the show’s depiction of the Muslim world before, during its five seasons it had run into controversy several times. Pakistan embassy spokesperson, Nadeem Hotian, also criticized the show for maligning a country that has been a close partner and ally of the US, stating that it is a disservice not only to the security interests of the US but also to its people. The TV-show network, Showtime, has not yet responded to the artists’ claims regarding the subversive graffiti. Have a look at our featured article when graffiti matters the most, Middle East edition.

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All images used for illustrative purposes only