A new public mural was revealed last Thursday on Cairo street in Hamra, Beirut, on the wall of the Massabki-Serhal building next to a parking lot.
The mural, which features two women in a mixture of bright colors and spans across 25 meters of wall space, was painted as a collaboration between artists Elias Zaarour and Karim Tamerji. It’s part of a series of murals by the Lebanese NGO Ahla Fawda.
The two artists explained that the work symbolizes the same woman at different periods of time, one very traditional, and her counterpart as the modern woman.
“Hamra is diverse, and the mural is about contrast,” explained artist Zaarour via The Daily Star.
“It is conservative yet open, traditional yet modern; like our identity, especially in Hamra, which is like a summary of Beirut,” he added.
Another mural at the entrance of the Hamra parking lot was also unveiled last Thursday as part of Ahla Fawda’s new “Art for Change” project.
The project aims to enrich and empower communities by installing art in public spaces. Ahla Fawda has also partnered with international organization WhereTheresWalls and RISEgallery, based in London, for this undertaking.
Hamra’s second new mural, done by Lebanese artist Diana Halabi, focuses on a girl obliviously reading a book on a bench as the hustle and bustle of the street surround her.
According to Art for Change director Imane Assaf, street art is capable of “changing vision, changing mindsets,” she said via The Daily Star.
“Now [that] people are seeing art [publicly], they don’t need to go to [a gallery],” artist Halabi stated via The Daily Star.
The project was made possible through the patronage of the Massabki-Serhal building owners, Tinol, and a crowd-funding campaign by the public.
Similar street art “exhibitions” have popped up in areas like Ouzai, known as “Ouzville,” in an effort to promote tourism to the area and cultural unity.
Several artists have painted murals along the many streets of Ouzai, and more are continuing to add to the “gallery.”
Art has been an important part of Lebanese culture with renowned artists such as Khalil Gibran, Mohammad Rawas, and Saloua Raouda Choucair.
That tradition is continuing forward with efforts by Ahla Fawda’s Art for Change and the likes that are giving the streets of Lebanon even more color.