Monday, August 8, 2022

#BlackLivesMatter Graffiti Sneaks Into Latest ‘Homeland’ Episode

Scene from "Homeland" showing the words "Homeland is Racist" written in Arabic as graffiti
Scene from “Homeland” showing the graffiti “#BlackLivesMatter” and  “Homeland is Racist” written in Arabic on the wall

*Three street artists hired by the Showtime series “Homeland” to enhance scenery with graffiti written in Arabic, slipped in their own commentary about the show, including the statement “Homeland is racist” and the message “#blacklivesmatter.” (Pictured above.)

The artists – Heba Amin, Caram Kapp and Stone – answered a call for “‘Arabian street artists’ to lend graffiti authenticity to a film set of a Syrian refugee camp on the Lebanese/Syrian border,” according to the trio’s blog posting. (The episode aired on Oct. 11.)

The artists said “Homeland’s” set designers were “too frantic to pay any attention to us” as they scrawled on walls, among other things, “Homeland is NOT a series,” “Homeland is watermelon” (meaning: nonsense) and “#blacklivesmatter.”

Instead, on-set supervisors were more concerned with the fraying of curtains and accuracy of plastic clothespins, the trio blogged. “In their eyes, Arabic script is merely a supplementary visual that completes the horror-fantasy of the Middle East, a poster image dehumanizing an entire region to human-less figures in black burkas and moreover, this season, to refugees.”


Amin, Kapp and Stone said that “Homeland” deserved to be called out for what they deem an ongoing “inaccurate, undifferentiated and highly biased depiction of Arabs, Pakistanis, and Afghans, as well as its gross misrepresentations of the cities of Beirut, Islamabad — and the so-called Muslim world in general,” adding: “Homeland has maintained the dichotomy of the photogenic, mainly white, mostly American protector versus the evil and backwards Muslim threat.”

“Granted, the show gets high praise from the American audience for its criticism of American government ethics,” the artists allowed, “but not without dangerously feeding into the racism of the hysterical moment we find ourselves in today.”

In response to the trio’s commentary, “Homeland” showrunner Alex Gansa told, “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.”

Gansa was asked about this subject in July 2014, the summer before “Homeland’s’ Season 4 premiere. Regarding criticism from groups like the Council on American Islamic Relations, who label the show as anti Islamic, Gansa responded, “You know, it’s funny. We’ve heard very, very little of that kind of criticism about our portrayal of Muslim characters,” Gansa told the Television Critics Association in 2014. “We really spend a lot of time trying to make them three dimensional, whether they’re villainous or whether they’re not, to really get a sense of who they are and why they are who they are.”

This past July, Showtime president David Nevins admired “Homeland’s” ability to remain fresh season after season.




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