El Teneen

El Teneen “the Dragon” is the pseudonym of an anonymous 29-year-old Egyptian graffiti artist whose work gained popularity and notoriety in Egypt following the Egyptian revolution of 2011.

El Teneen originally formed one half of “Team El Teneen”, or “Dragon Team”; however, the artist now works primarily independently. His artwork has been described as “icons of the January 25 revolution.

El Teneen was not an experienced artist prior to the 2011 revolution, having focused primarily on abstract painting and studying a science-related field, and would work in graphic design.

Since the revolution, his work has been noted for its revolutionary nature and its critique of the SCAF.

Although graffiti has proliferated in Egyptian cities since the revolution, El Teneen noted that most of it “is not political … “You can maybe say that people are expressing themselves, but the streets are not ours yet.”

El Teneen also stated that his work is not solely political, saying that “even if the political situation here is resolved … we will still have to talk about women, religion and other issues.”

El Teneen’s work is known for its political nature. In particular, a spray-painted image of a chessboard depicting an upside-down king surrounded by bishops, knights and rooks opposed by several rows of amassed pawns that the artist drew on the campus of the American University in Cairo, which has been widely noticed. His work is not only political, however, as he also participated in an exhibition entitled “Black and White”, in which he depicted a series of cultural icons from Egyptian cinema.

Kesh Malek

El Teneen


This chessboard made on a wall in Egypt is the most emblematic work of El Teneen.

Created at the time of the Arab revolutions, it symbolically shows the king on the ground surrounded by his guard, facing the pawns representing the people.

Engaged, the visual of this edition of 30 copies has been used to illustrate several magazines, including an article in Le Monde Diplomatique.

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