Sunday 23 October 2016

Graffiti artists slip criticism of Homeland on set walls

Published 15/10/2015 | 12:56

Homeland stars Claire Danes
Homeland stars Claire Danes

Graffiti artists hired to work on the set of TV show Homeland have duped the popular series, painting Arabic slogans criticising it on walls seen in the background.

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In one episode set in a Hezbollah-run refugee camp in Lebanon but filmed in Berlin, star Claire Danes can be seen walking by slogans including "Homeland is racist" and "Homeland is a joke and it didn't make us laugh".

Berlin graffiti artist Stone said that he and two friends initially were not going to take the job when approached by the producers, but then decided instead to use it to express their opinions of Homeland.

From the positive reaction he has seen, he said "we obviously struck a chord".

Stone added: "From the reactions we have seen, a lot of people had not so happy feelings about this show so there is a lot of happiness coming our way right now."

The Emmy award-winning show, now in its fifth season, is extremely popular, but has also been widely criticised for its depiction of Muslims, and also by the governments of Lebanon and Pakistan for its portrayals of their countries.

Still, Stone said most positive responses he had seen have been from the US, though also from the Middle East.

The artists said it was more than just a prank, they wanted to express their feelings about the show and initially considered using Arabic proverbs and slightly rewriting them with coded messages.

"The question was how can we get a message across that is not so blatant that they will immediately recognise it," he said. "But then when the actual shooting started, it was pretty clear no one would even look at it."

Homeland producer Alex Gansa said he would rather have caught the images before they made it to air, but suggested a grudging respect for the artists' work.

"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," he said in a statement provided by Showtime.

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