beirut: white wall

© el seed - the sun rises behind the centuries [tunis, 2011]

the white wall exhibition promises to be one of the most interesting contemporary showcases to be held in beirut in recent years. organized by fondation saradar and beirut art center, it opens wed - sep 5 [6pm] at the latter's spacious hangar venue. fifteen graffiti artists from across the planet have been invited to share their art and expertise, not only through a show at beirut art center but also in various streets across town. an additional 18 leading local artists will join in the outdoor activities. the list of artists includes dihzaynersel seed, kimewi, l'atlas and ashekman. since the civil war [1975-1990] public space in lebanon had been occupied by inscriptions and stencils related to war and sectarian politics. western-style graffiti appeared infrequently as of the mid-1990s and it wasn't until 2005 that a new scene emerged that intentionally took on the task to create a uniquely lebanese style of this art form. this scene is now burgeoning and the streets of beirut have witnessed the birth of new artists mixing caustic stencils, western influences and arabic graffiti.

these interventions contrasted with public expectations, since they promoted unity over division and maintained a humorous and often critical look at lebanese society. one of the key issues raised by the white wall exhibition is to understand how it is possible to bring an inherently outdoor and accessible art to an indoor art space without betraying the idiosyncrasy of this art. a roundtable at beirut art center will focus on the phenomenon of lebanese graffiti and its evolution from a message of war to a contemporary artistic expression while items related to street art will be on display. the venue's will stock a special selection of books as well as graffiti-styled bags, designed in collaboration with the artists. click [here] to view the event's full program. gallery location: rue 97, building 13 [jisr al wati]. 

© l'atlas - street mural [yogyakarta, 2005]