In one of the scenes, the lead character is seen walking past the wall which says ‘Homeland is racist’
In an act of hilarious rebellion, street artists have used popular TV series Homeland as a canvas to convey their criticism of the controversial show.
The fifth season of the hit terrorist drama is based in Europe and features ISIS in its storyline. Everyone who has seen the latest episode of Homeland must have noticed graffiti in Arabic on the walls of what’s shown to be a Syrian refugee camp. But few probably understood what it actually meant.
Read: Homeland season 5 features Islamic State in storyline
Street artists Heba Amin, Caram Kapp and Stone painted slogans mocking the show and — interestingly — got away with it.
In a statement released online, the artists said they were contacted because the production company wanted to add authenticity to the set that was to portray a Syrian refugee camp on the Syrian-Lebanese border, but was actually in Germany.
They took this as an opportunity to convey their opinion of the show to the world, using the show as a medium. “It was our moment to make our point by subverting the message using the show itself,” they wrote.
In one of the scenes, the lead character — Carrie, played by Claire Danes — for instance is seen walking past the wall which says “Homeland is racist”. The artwork also included slogans like “Homeland is a joke, and it didn’t make us laugh”, “#blacklivesmatter”, “Homeland is NOT a series” and “The situation is not to be trusted”.
According to the statement, the artists had initially been given images of “pro-Assad graffiti – apparently natural in a Syrian refugee camp” and were asked to paint similar slogans on the set.
However, they decided to paint their own opinions instead. The final Arabic script was not even checked by the producers which further emphasises the lack of the producers’ knowledge about the culture they’re portraying.
“The content of what was written on the walls 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 dehumanising an entire region to human-less figures in black burkas and moreover, this season, to refugees,” the artists’ statement read.
One of the artists, Heba Amin, told the Guardian, “We think the show perpetuates dangerous stereotypes by diminishing an entire region into a farce through the gross misrepresentations that feed into a narrative of political propaganda. It is clear they don’t know the region they are attempting to represent. And yet, we suffer the consequences of such shallow and misguided representation.”
Homeland is no stranger to controversy, however. It has previously been criticised over its racist portrayal of the Muslim world, particularly the depiction of a seemingly friendly relationship between Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah.
In season four, Islamabad was featured and branded as a “hellhole” amid criticisms. A spokesperson from the Pakistan embassy in the US had then said, “Maligning a country that has been a close partner and ally of the US is a disservice not only to the security interests of the US but also to the people of the US.”
Earlier, Showtime president David Nevins had said, “We’re not necessarily going to stay now and forever [focusing on] US relations in the Muslim world. We’re exploring a few different possibilities and may change it up a little bit. They [the writers] never shied away from anything difficult. I want them to go right into the teeth of it again.”
The network has not responded to the artists’ statement as yet.