BEIRUT: Along with the demonstrations that have been protesting against Lebanon’s corrupt government in Lebanon since October 17 were street artists that also had their own role to play.
These artists are turning the walls on the Ring Bridge and the Beiruti ESCWA building into what they call Revolution Walls, under the Art of Change movement.
Starting on the third day of the revolts, the initiative gathered by far around 20 street artists.
“Every wall should be speaking about the demonstrations with the demonstrators. We intended to go all over the protesting Lebanese areas, but we faced some circumstantial difficulties like poor weather conditions and road blockage. We’re still determined to go to Jal El-Dib and Tripoli hopefully very soon,” said Iman Assaf, president and founder of Ahla Fawda.
Ahla Fawda, a Lebanese based non-profit organization, launched in 2019 the Art of Change movement, in collaboration with London based partners WhereTheresWalls and RISEgallery.
The Art of Change project is devoted to areas embellishment, and it offers rising artists the opportunity to showcase their work and develop their skills without having a large capital investment. The movement is nurtured by volunteers working towards community development.
Art of Change, as an addition to the Lebanese street art scene, is contributing to the revolution in the form of art expression.
Some murals were even colored by rain while in the making, but artists resumed expressing themselves despite all barriers, even ISF restrictions on October 30 as described by Assaf, because “they saw that what we’re doing is impactful and can change mentalities.” This artwork’s potential is not to be ignored, yet these street artists insist on using unconventional art means to cover the remnants of civil war and overcome sectarianism.
Roula Abdo, one of the Art of Change artists who did three revolutionary murals so far, spoke to Annahar about the change in her painting style after the revolution ignited, turning into a more humane and expressive style.
“After I lost hope in Lebanon, the massive protests made me feel that I do belong here and that I should contribute to change,” she said.
Assaf also clarified that the reason why she “decided to do this and asked the artists to join is that this is a community involvement, because the revolution itself is about the whole Lebanese community. It’s never about the artist.”
Art historically evolved since the 1960s throughout the world to encompass unsanctioned artwork in public urban locations and went beyond graffiti. The underlying impetus behind this art grew out of the belief that art should be democratic, empowering and accessible to all, outside museums, indoor galleries and private collections.
The participating artists are: Roula Abdo, Renoz, Kadado (dewdle), Phat2, Marie Alice Berberi, Louma Rabah, Carmara Barakatte, Negin Fallah, Mark Ghsoub, Wissam Yassin (WEESDOM), Sumer Ziady, Oliver Matar (Fase), Spaz, Eps, Meuh, Hayat Nazer, Ghaleb Hawila, Will Ivy, Fish961, Salim Mouawad.
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