Let Lebanon Live

… Before I Die

Back in late October and early November 2019, one of the walls surrounding the Beiruti ESCWA (a United Nations building, Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia) building was transformed with graffiti and street art into a “Revolution Wall”.  It coincided with protests against bad governance, corruption and social injustice in Lebanon.  The  Art of Change movement was involved in painting the wall…  along with many Lebanese artist.  This is only one of such walls.

below: Caricatures of Lebanese officials along with two posters.  The one on the far left is by sumerziady 

light brown temporary wall outside, made of panels, now home to a revolution wall of art and graffiti, white faces, a poster by sumerziady and the words let Lebanon live before I die

below: A mouse wearing a hard hat and brandishing a sword.

a grey mouse in a hard hat holding a sword, graffiti on a wall

below: A wonderful black and rust coloured bird, by RenoZ,  It doesn’t seem fazed by the mouse with the sword.

realistic painting of a red and black bird on a branch, on a wall in Beirut

below: A monkey-faced man by Zein, a clenched fist rising out of the ground, and two green fighters in a no entry zone (or is it the Lebanese flag?).

graffiti, a man with a monkey face, a red and white do not enter sign with two green figures fighting,

below: Freedom, loud and clear.

looking along a wall full of protest street art including a large word freedom

below: Another Renoz painting, a skull on a chair from which a red rose is rising.

a skull sits on a red upholstered chair with wood arms and legs, on a blue background, also hand with lebanese flag, and the word resist

below: The man in the megaphone is signed Dewdle, the mark of Ali Kadado, a Lebanese artist.  Resist.

a black hand with a Lebanese flag over the palm beside a man's face, shouting with eyes closed, coming out of a megaphone, street art protest piece

below:  I am now feeling that my lack of Arabic means that I am missing a lot of what these mean.  For instance, the purple guy by Weesdom is saying something but I don’t know what.  I also suspect that the words written on the tap over the young man’s mouth are important, perhaps “Revolution even if you try to silence us”? (artwork by Roula Abdo).  The last one is in English but now some knowledge of Lebanese politics would be helpful –   a phone screenshot by phat2tg (ot the tg posse)

street art on the escwa wall in Beirut

wall of revolution, text in red paint on a wall in Beirut, along with other graffiti

below: Stencil by markghsoub aka Markus – a larger than life man standing in a shallow boat.

stencil of a man in arab dress walking and other graffiti

below: Title section, “Revolution Wall” featuring a clown with dollar signs flashing in his eyes by Ivan Debs.

revolution wall, title of all the street art collection, on escwa wall, protest art, Beirut, clown face, green tree, closed fist,

below: Caricature mugshots.  Lebanese government officials as Jokers as they go off to jail.

graffiti on a Beirut wall, caricature mug shos of 4 Lebanese men, green hair and clown mouths, wearing black and white striped tops

below: Another markghsoub stencil

black stencil of two people looking into the distance, on top of a green circle along with a red and white dove

can you smell the madness is written in red across some other graffiti

below: Dancing while the bombs fall by Zein.

white ballet dancer with skirt twirling as she spins, black bombs dropping around her. graffiti on a wall

below: Giving the peace sign, a man in a red and white shirt by fasewho aka Oliver Matar (He also painted the large word ‘Freedom’ a few pictures back). The head with all the people as hair is another painting by Roula Abdo.

a head with stick figure people with arms upward as hair, and a strip of cloth in form of Lebanese flag across bridge of nose and cheeks, by Roula Abdo alongside a man in a red and white shirt on a green background, both graffiti on a wall

below: A bunch of balloons, most in the colours of the Lebanese flag by ilatk aka Ilat Knayzeh  on one side, and on the right is a woman stenciled on top of a circular pattern by  ZaFeelz aka Zayna Ayyad

Beirut Revolution Art wall, two pieces, circlar art with woman's face stenciled in black, a painting of balloons and lebanese flag

below: Among the profanity, two calligraphy pieces by Ghaleb Hawila

two calligraphy graffiti pieces on a wall in Beirut

below: An intricate and detailed black and white drawing by @rasharahal

protest graffiti in Beirut, a black and white line drawing by rasharahal

below: A closer look at the top part

close up of the top half of the poster - protest graffiti in Beirut, a black and white line drawing by rasharahal

There is an Instagram page devoted to collecting the 2019 Lebanese Art of Revolution, or Art of Thawra.  Check it out if you are interested seeing more of this type of art.

Hamra murals

Most of the graffiti and street art that I saw recently in Beirut was political (protest) in nature but there were also some large murals covering the sides of multi-storey buildings in the Hamra district of the city.

below: Picture of  Emily Nasrallah and Huguette Caland by Roula Abdo and Mary Shammas for Art of Change and

a mural on the side of a building of two older women, Emily Nasrallah and Huguette Caland, with arms linked with extra arms, coloured ribbons winding between and around them

below: A mural of a woman, Sabah, by Yazan Halwani surrounded by Arabic calligraphy

high on a wall, a large mural by Yazan Halwani of a woman's head and shoulders, surrounded by Arabic letters and words. she is seen in profile, smiling as she looks away

below: From a distance it just looks like black squiggles covering the mural. In fact it is interlocking characters and animals, especially faces with big lips. It was painted by Potato Nose aka Jad El Khoury.  Have you noticed the little man standing on the roof?

multi storey residential buildings, one has a large mural on the side of it, blue with a lighter blue semi-circle, with black squiggles all over it

below: This mural, titled “Pagano” is the work of South American artist Inti.  It was painted in 2012 as part of the White Wall Beirut project that year.

tall Inti mural in Hamras Beirut, of a boy holding onto a goat, boy wearing hooded jacket and a necklace

head of boy in mural

holding onto a goat in a mural, other little men

below: Unfortunately I don’t know who painted this or what the words say

large mural on the side of a building in Hamras Beirut, purple background with white Arabic writing on it below: One wall of the Mayflower Hotel is covered with this mural by apocaleps

tall narrow mural of part of a man's face, with blue hair and blue mustache, by apocaleps

little things in Amman

As I walked around Amman, I saw a few small pieces of graffiti and street art.

below: A metal box with half a face on the left and Arabic writing on the right side.

metal box on street painted, dark blue background, left half is half a face while right side is Arabic letters in yellow

below: We claim the sea

stencil on a wall, black letters that say we claim the sea

below: Keeping an eye on the stairs.

realistic painting of an eye on a wall between two windows on a set of stairs

below: A very small fellow walking with his hat

a little black stick figure person painted on a stone wall

below: A beetle climbing a wall

a black beetle graffiti on a yellow wall graffiti on a wall on a wall beside a driveway, a blue and white graffiti

below: She flies by her own wings. she flies by her own wings, written words painted on a wall, graffiti

below: My wishness marshamello (marshmallow?)

my wishness love marshmallow, words wirtten on a wall, graffiti

below: Blue beard and long hair.

a blue graffiti painting on a wall, down low near the ground, of a man with beard and long hair.

large murals in Al Hashmi Al Shamali

Most of the murals in this area of Amman were painted as part of one of the annual Baladk Urban Arts Festivals held in collaboration with the Al Balad Theatre.  These festivals started in 2013 – the murals that I saw here were all from 2017 through 2019.

below: In the foreground is a large mural by Fintan Magee. (2018)
three large murals in a row, in the foreground is one of a girl by Finton Magee, the next is an old woman with a red circle in the background and the third is a colourful woman with ribbons by Dina Saadi

below: by Suhaib Attar, 2017

large mural of a woman in black and white and grey tones, with a large red circle behind her head

below: “Reflections” painted by Dubai-based artist  Dina Saadi as part of Baladk 2018

large mural in Amman of a woman looking in a hand held mirror, with hair tied in two buns and lots of colourful ribbons around her head

close up of the head, a woman in profile, in the mural painted by Dina Saadi

below: A portrait of Jordanian artist Suhaib Attar painted by French artist Don Mateo

large mural in Al Hashmi Al Shamali in Amman of a man in black and red

below: This girl with the orange and green is also by Don Mateo.

large murals in Amman

close up of a mural, a girls face, on a wall with two windows, one of the windows has two flower pots

below: Local vocals.  This is not part of Baladk but I couldn’t find any more information on the mural – who painted it or whose portraits these are.

white background, blue paint, mural of a music group with 5 members, part of local vocals

below: From 2019, a blue haired woman by ZiNk aka Ibtehal Al Dous

a turquoise truck is parked on a residential street in Amman beside a mural of woman with blue hair and a purple jacket, she has her eyes closed

below: A large portrait by Hombre, aka Pablo Fontagnier (Baladk 2018)

fontal portrait of a person with short black hair and green eyes

below: “Imagine” by sourati  – Imagine to believe in yourself.  Imagine to step beyond limitations and try something new. (2019)

large mural of a woman wearing a grey top, eyes closed and dreaming of doves, the title is imagine and it was painted by sourati, on the side of a large building in Amman

below: A whimsical drawing by sourati – a man, a woman, and a cat all with their heads sticking out of the roof of their own little houses.

small street art on a concrete wall, whimsical drawings by sourati of people in small houses withtheir heads sticking out of the roofs , a moon in the sky and also a cat sticking its head out of a small house,

below: And last, I am not sure what the word says, but she seems to have a hole where her heart should be.

muddied old mural on a wall around a courtyard, a car parked beside

Suhaib Attar’s women

Three murals of women seen in Amman that were painted by Suhaib Attar.
First is this multicoloured angel painted in 2014.

woman's head and shoulders on an orange background, mural by Suhaib Attar, woman is in blue, pink, and yellow splotches. She has wings in the same colour

woman's head and shoulders on an orange background, mural by Suhaib Attar, woman is in blue, pink, and yellow splotches. She has wings in the same colour - close up of her face

Second, the car is blocking part of the title, but I think that this one is called “Randa”.  I am not sure who painted the portrait on the left.

two murals of women. on the left is a portrait in blue and white of a woman with long hair. on the right is a Suhaib Attar painting of a woman's face surroundd by stars

And last, because of it’s height above street level, this large mural in central Amman can be seen from a long distance away.  A bright blue canvas for a mural in celebration of World Children’s Day.  The calligraphy was painted by Chaf (Chill as f)

bright blue backkground, on the back of an apartment building, mural, of a woman in blue head scarf, for world children's day, supported by Unicef

folklore on a mannequin

There is a large mural by Lebanese artist Yazan Halwani covering the side of a building on Nadeem Al Mallah street in Amman.  It was painted in 2016 from a mannequin wearing a folklore type costume.

large black and white and grey mural of a woman in a traditional costume, on the side of bulding, beside a window with pink curtains and a broken pane of glass

Like a lot of Halwani’s work, the design relies on calligraphy & Arabic writing.  It is meant as a statement about the mix of Jordanian and Lebanese cultures.

close up of face in mural of woman by Yazan halwani,