homeland artist protest
© Showtime
Claire Danes' character walks past a slogan that translates to 'Homeland is racist' in a scene from the show
  • A group of artists were asked to add authenticity to the refugee camp set
  • Arabic slogans were spray painted across the set on the outskirts of Berlin
  • The messages included: 'Homeland is a joke that didn't make us laugh'
  • Others are said to state '#blacklivesmatter' and 'Homeland is a watermelon'
  • Those behind the messages said the show portrays Muslims 'inaccurately'
A group of street artists hired to give the new Homeland series authenticity have bombed its set with hidden messages in Arabic calling the show a 'joke' and 'racist'.The slogans, sprayed across the walls of a set designed to be of a Syrian refugee camp, went unnoticed and broadcast on the second episode of the new series.
homeland artistic protest
© Showtime
This frame, taken from episode two in the show's fifth season, features graffiti that reads '1,001 calamities'
Claiming it was an opportunity to voice their discontent at Homeland's portrayal of Muslims, the artists blasted the show for its 'highly biased depiction of Arabs, Pakistanis, and Afghans'.

The group said their employers told them their messages must be apolitical, but the set designers were too busy to pay attention to their work once it was completed.

The award winning show, featuring Claire Danes as a CIA agent navigating the murky world of terrorism and modern day espionage, has been criticised in the past for its portrayal of Muslims and the Middle East.

Among the messages spray painted across the set were 'Homeland is racist', 'ready to die', 'Homeland is NOT a series' and '#blacklivesmatter'.
homeland artistic protest
© Showtime
Claire Danes and British actor Max Beesley's characters wander past a message stating 'Homeland is not a series'
Others were more humorous, with 'Homeland is a watermelon', 'Homeland is a joke that didn't make us laugh', and 'this show does not represent the views of the artists' included.One of the members of the group, Egyptian visual artist Heba Amin, explained the group's motivation on her website.

She said the group received a call from a friend who had been contacted by the show's designers looking for streets artists to add 'authenticity' to the set.

'Given the series' reputation we were not easily convinced, until we considered what a moment of intervention could relay about our own and many others' political discontent with the series.

'It was our moment to make our point by subverting the message using the show itself.'

She adds that the group was briefed not write anything political, but decided to 'arm ourselves with slogans, with proverbs allowing for critical interpretation, and, if the chance presented itself, blatant criticism directed at the show'.

When producers failed to notice what they wrote on the walls, their point was vindicated, she added.

'In [the producers'] eyes, Arabic script is merely a supplementary visual that completes the horror-fantasy of the Middle East.'

Homeland showrunner told Deadline: 'We wish we'd caught these images before they made it to air.

'However, as Homeland always strives to be subversive in its own right and a stimulus for conversation, we can't help but admire this act of artistic sabotage.'

From the artists' statement page

ArabianStreetArtists1 ArabianStreetArtists2

Top: Homeland is NOT a series (al watan mesh mosalsal)

Bottom: we didn't resist, so he conquered us riding on a donkey; bottom: The situation is not to be trusted; left: This show does not represent the views of the artists (photos courtesy of the artists)

ArabianStreetArtists3 ArabianStreetArtists4

Top: Freedom (horeya)..now in 3-D!

Bottom: Homeland is watermelon (al watan bateekh) (watermelon is a word often used to indicate that something is a sham or not to be taken seriously) (photos courtesy of the artists)

ArabianStreetArtists5 ArabianStreetArtists6

Top: There is no Homeland (mafeesh Homeland)

Bottom: #blacklivesmatter (photos courtesy of the artists)

ArabianStreetArtists7 ArabianStreetArtists8

Top: Falafel and Alcohol: from the hands of Faiza
The falafel stand belongs to an elderly lady named Faiza, a Syrian Christian who has seen a lot of life, and lived in a multicultural society for much of it. She has understood that good food and an occasional drop of Arak solve many problems, and although she sells only falafel and hummus, she added alcohol as a visual reminder of the better times, an act of resistance to her current circumstances and a premonition of a return to the life she once knew and enjoyed, even through hardships. She is well-liked in the neighbourhood, and although her sign does mention Alcohol, it also brings smiles to the residents of the camp.
Bottom left wall: against the red, blue and purple devil (A Muslim Brotherhood reference made by an Egyptian general on Television in 2013)
Bottom right wall: Homeland is a joke, and it didn't make us laugh(photos courtesy of the artists)


Homeland is racist

#gasewsew (a reference to the Egyptian Abla Fahita puppet on spying) (photos courtesy of the artists)