‘Homeland Is Racist’ Graffiti Airs On Showtime Show; Artists Explain Why They Hacked The Series
Homeland’s set for its latest episode – “The Tradition of Hospitality” – was hacked by hired street artists who painted phrases on the walls such as “Homeland is Racist.”
‘Homeland Is Racist’
Heba Amin, Caram Kapp and Stone were hired by Homeland‘s production team to help them add “graffiti authenticity” to the set of a fictional Syrian refugee camp. Production had wanted the self-dubbed “Arabian Street Artists” to create “apolitical” graffiti. Instead, the trio decided to “arm [themselves] with slogans, with proverbs allowing for critical interpretation, and, if the chance presented itself, blatant criticism directed at the show.”
One of the Arabian Street Artists’ slogans that made the final cut of Sunday night’s episode was “Homeland is Racist,” which was spotted as Claire Danes‘ character Carrie Mathieson enters the camp. Other graffiti read, “This show does not represent the views of the artists” and “Homeland is a joke, and it didn’t make us laugh.”
Explaining how they pulled off the hack, the Arabian Street Artists disclosed that the set designers were too busy taking care of other matters to check their work.
“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,” the group said on their website. “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 dehumanizing an entire region to human-less figures in black burkas and moreover, this season, to refugees.”
The Arabian Street Artists are among those who find fault with Homeland‘s depiction of the Arab world and Muslims. They, like fellow critics, believe that the poetic license the show uses in order to create its plot becomes dangerous when people take it for fact instead of fiction.
“The very first season of Homeland explained to the American public that Al Qaida is actually an Iranian venture. According to the storyline, they are not only closely tied to Hezbollah, but Al Qaida even sought revenge against the US on behalf of Iran,” they wrote. “This dangerous phantasm has become mainstream ‘knowledge’ in the US and has been repeated as fact by many mass media outlets. Five seasons later, the plot has come a long way, but the thinly veiled propaganda is no less blatant.”
After becoming aware of the graffiti artists’ work, Homeland showrunner Alex Gansa admitted that he wished that the graffiti hadn’t made the final cut of “The Tradition of Hospitality,” but that he is no less impressed with the defiant act.
“We wish we’d caught these images before they made it to air,” Gansa told Deadline. “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.”
Previously, Homeland has drawn criticism from Pakistani officials and Lebanese politicians. An article for The Washington Post dubbed it “the most bigoted show on television.”
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