'Homeland is racist' reads graffiti in hit TV show

'Homeland is racist' reads graffiti in hit TV show
A group of street artists hired to draw graffiti on sets of US drama Homeland instead used the chance to voice their displeasure over its anti-Arab bias and inaccuracies.
2 min read
15 October, 2015
Graffiti: Homeland is racist [photo courtesy of the artists]

Three graffiti artists hired by producers of hit US television drama Homeland to give its sets more realism took the opportunity to highlight the show's anti-Arab bias and racism with its artwork.

The "Arabian street artists" Heba Amin, Caram Kapp and Stone [the artist's name] were asked to mark up the walls of a set depicting a Syrian refugee camp for episodes of the show's fifth season, which were filmed in Berlin.

However, the artists took the invitation as an opportunity to subvert the message and reverse the stereotype.

In one of the scenes in the latest episode, protagonist Carrie Mathison [Claire Danes] is being escorted by a Hizballah commander through a Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon. They pass Arabic graffiti painted on the wall that says: "Homeland is racist."

On her website, Heba Amin shared more screen shots and photos of the artists' work on the set.

One phrase, which also got into one of the episodes, read: "Homeland is not a series."

Other messages read: "Homeland is a joke, but it didn't make us laugh," and "The show does not represent the view of the artists."

On some occasions a transliterated word for "homeland" was used, making it very clear that the series itself is the target.

     Graffiti: Homeland is a joke, and we're not laughing [photo courtesy of artists]

"Set designers were too frantic to pay any attention to us; they were busy constructing a hyper-realistic set that addressed everything from the plastic laundry pins to the frayed edges of outdoor plastic curtains..." Amin wrote.

"The content of what was written on the walls, however, was of no concern. In their eyes, Arabic script is merely a supplementary visual that completes the horror-fantasy of the Middle East, a poster image reducing an entire region to inhuman figures in black burkas and moreover, this season, to refugees," he added.

     Graffiti: There is no Homeland (transliterated) [courtesy of the artists]

Amin, an Egyptian visual artist, told the Washington Post "It's very important for us to address the idea that this kind of stereotyping is dangerous because it helps form people's perceptions of an entire region, a huge region, which in turn affects foreign policy."

Homeland is an award winning television series based on the Israeli television series Prisoners of War.

The artists, along with so many people familiar with the Arab and Middle Eastern countries depicted in this series, have been critical of the show for its anti-Arab bias and inaccuracies.