A few days ago in Beirut, a youth-led organization brought its members together to beautify the streets of the Lebanese capital with colorful and creative graffiti.
These young Lebanese, who promote good governance, public spaces, and cultural heritage through advocacy campaigns, decided to make a beautiful difference to affected areas.
They are called NAHNOO, meaning WE, and they rally volunteers across Lebanon to work towards an inclusive society. They’ve been doing amazing work in raising environmental, political, and cultural awareness.
They do so by organizing important projects that aim to reclaim public spaces, like their contest project of Horsh Beirut coming up next week, demand transparency in municipal work, like the Zahle municipality, and support local artisans, like craftmanship in Borj Hammoud, among others.
Their latest project was launched with the purpose of “activating and creating public spaces through artistic interventions in Burj Hammoud,” as they said, bringing life and animating the streets.
A group of young Lebanese volunteers was brought together to execute the creative work.
The young artists transformed the city’s plain and distressed walls into beautiful works of art, like Fairuz’s portrait accompanied by a famous sentence from one of her most popular patriotic songs Bhebbak Ya Lebnan, Ya Watani Bhebbak, “I love you O Lebanon, O my homeland I love you.”
This NGO group obviously put all their creative energy into this project. They created patriotic, fun, and modern drawings as well as awesome Arabic Calligraffiti, which is the art of using Calligraphy in Graffiti.
It’s shocking the contrast between Burj Hammoud’s walls before and after the completion of these works of art. The daily lives of the residents will surely be affected by this positive and colorful change.
We all need something to make us smile every day, especially these days, and make us feel a little better, and also inspire us like the art of Fairouz. These arts are doing just that to the people.
As the Lebanese artist Mohammed Abrash had previously pointed out, creative works incite a smile on the face of every person passing by.
Utilizing art as a tool for change is what the country needs at this day and time. People are so focused on creating a dramatic positive change in the field of politics and in people’s mindsets.
However, when things get a little bit out of their control, and when they see that most of their efforts are being ignored and have no drastic result or at least the outcome they aspire to, they become frustrated.
This is a depressing situation for a population to go through on a daily basis. However, art is a process people will always have control over, and they know that when they put their efforts into a creative project, it won’t go unnoticed.
Plus, the aftermath is completely worth it. When a struggling Lebanese person passes by this humorous drawing of a monkey, for example, he or she can’t help but smile genuinely. And smiling is therapeutic!
Medical studies have indeed demonstrated that smiling can outwit the body into elevating one’s mood just because it activates neural messaging in the brain.
Smiling can trigger mood-boosting neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin.
This is why the artistic work NAHNOO is doing is important these days in which we struggle for some hope and some joy amidst our painful crises.
These young Lebanese are not only transforming the ugly into beauty but also the sadness into joy, uplifting the spirits of the city’s residents and visitors.
The project has the additional merit of bringing people together for beautiful artistic purposes that are just as good for the body and the mind of those participating.
Acts like this one, where citizens give something of themselves for other people to appreciate, are essential in society.
The youth of Lebanon has been indeed a source of inspiration and motivation for this nation that wants to prevail amidst one of its harshest phases ever.
They keep going, they keep creating, and they keep demanding the best for Lebanon.