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The twenty-two year old artist, Yazan Halwani, has been painting walls in his hometown of Beirut since he was only fourteen years old. The young artist hit the street art scene with a bang as he combines renewed Arabic calligraphy with portraits of influential individuals from his region, a style he calls 'calligraffiti'. His success is reaching across the globe, as he paints his larger than life murals in France, Singapore, Germany, Tunisia and the UAE.
The artist in the process of painting his signature 'calligraffiti' style for his mural of a Syrian child in Dortmond, Germany. (Photo: Alex Völkel)
The artist uses this combination of styles in his murals in the hopes to unite the fragmented city he comes from. Growing up after the end of the Lebanese civil war, the artist's formative years were shaped by a city divided politically and culturally by the French-speaking Christians and Arabic-speaking Muslims of the city. Celebrating Lebanese and Arabic figures, the artist tries to create a memory and a space for culture for the region he is painting in. This requires Halwani to do a lot of research about the neighbourhood, its culture and what its citizens value.
Mural of Lebanese actress and singer, Sabah
Shortly after her death in 2014 at the age of eighty seven, Halwani commemorated the Lebanese singer and actress, Sabah, in Beirut's Hamra neighbourhood. The city of Beirut that the artist grew up in was segmented by militias, with propaganda as the main component of the city's street art. In the attempt to combat the sectarian nature of the city, the artist paints Sabah explaining, “She’s a symbol of Lebanese identity that’s not soured by sectarianism”.
The mural tribute to the deceased Ali Abdullah in the Hamra neighbourhood of Beirut
Not only does Halwani depict famous figures from the regions he paints in, but he will pick local figures who have become iconic for their presence in the area. For example Halwani depicts the deceased homeless man, Ali Abdullah, in order to preserve his touching story in the neighbourhood he lived and breathed.
The artist signing his Global Street Art Story prints at his studio in Beirut.
We are thrilled to have Yazan's stunning gold prints at the gallery. Make sure to grab one quick as they are selling out fast !
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Next up in our Global Street Art Story is Alice Pasquini, representing her country of Italy at the gallery. Her art depicts strong women in the attempt to combat highly sexualized representations of women in art. Stay tuned for the release of her print!