Beirut Graffiti: Quirky, Colourful Street Art in Lebanon

Om Kalthoum sings ‘Boos El Wawa’ with what I sincerely hope is a ginger beard

This is definitely not meant to be a comprehensive post on all the graffiti in Beirut, nor am I going to pretend that I know what I talk about, because milling around the neighbourhood of Hamra for one day should not make me an expert on graffiti in Beirut.

A collaboration by Phat2, SDF and Ack
Be with the Revolution, a stencil originally made by Mohamed Gaber in Egypt

This blog post is merely to give you a gist of the graffiti styles and themes that I came across in the Hamra area of the AUB: colourful, pop-culture-influenced, funny and heavy on the sarcasm. It was interesting to see the graffiti of Mohamed Gaber made by Lebanese artists on the walls here; there seems to be a Beirut connection, a theory proven by the recent appearance of the Beirut design of the middle finger as a kaf fatima with ‘KHOZ’ underneath here in Cairo in front of Al Ahly Club.

It was also interesting to see the revered Egyptian singing icon Om Kalthoum on the walls, as well as Hosni Mubarak. Perhaps there is also an Egyptian influence on the Lebanese street art scene, just as I noticed the music of Om Kalthoum and Abdel Halim Hafez played everywhere I went. Solidarity with the Palestinian cause and with social movements was clear, as were the social issues of rape and alcoholism.

Having completely fallen in love with Beirut and its people, I was further intrigued by the city’s graffiti, which included a lot of large scale free-hand graffit as well as these stencils. After all, it’s not every day that you see Hello Kitty as Che Guevara, or ET or an angelic woman with a machine gun, or the phrase ‘forever drunk’. Some of this graffiti has appeared in the book Arabic Graffiti by Done Stone.

Plane dropping parachutes of….
Freehand sighted in Hamra
Stencil of a solidarity movement with the global Occupy campaign?
I like to think of this one as two finger puppets engaged in domestic fights…
while the two kids look on… by PHAT2, SDF and Ack
Wherever I go, Shafik follows me
Badass Hello Kitty by Fawzi Marouk
I could see this on a wall in a contemporary museum
ET chained? No phone home?
Mushroom stencils everywhere…
I love this one; angelic yet sinister and armed
Fairytale like characters
Wake UP and Dream
Oh look who made an appearance


Triangulated city
I’m right here
Fight Rape

Always drunk