This is yet another brilliant art work by Ali Rafei. We all love Lebanon but it takes a lot of effort (and sometimes taking meds) to keep loving it.
I once compiled Ali Rafei’s best art works into one post, check them out [here].
Pic via Ashekman
Update: Here’s the latest and final picture of the mural
ASHEKMAN and MARCH repainted their “To Be Free Or Not” mural in Achrafieh after it was removed by mistake by Beirut’s municipality a couple of weeks ago. I passed by yesterday around 6pm and spotted Omar putting the final touches.
It’s good to hear that Beirut’s municipality took a positive stance concerning this mural and I hope they preserve other decent art works and encourage more talented artists like ASHEKMAN to spread positive messages across the city’s walls.
Lebanon’s architectural heritage is slowly disappearing and Beirut is quickly losing its traditional character as old houses, beautiful villas and Ottoman-style mansions are increasingly being destroyed and replaced with modern skyscrapers. Activists have been campaigning for years to preserve some of that heritage but time is not on their side as historical buildings are not being preserved by the authorities and will become beyond repair at some point.
Having said that, French Designer Benedicte de Vanssay de Blavous Moubarak and her husband Raja moved to Beirut few years ago and became immediately drawn to the unique style of traditional Levantine houses. In an attempt to salvage whatever is left of Lebanon’s disappearing architectural heritage, they began collecting discarded old wrought iron balustrades, railings and window frames from all over Lebanon and turning them into design pieces.
The couple created in 2006 2b design with the mission of “restoring the unseen beauty of the broken” and the name Beyt (House/Home in Hebrew and Arabic) was chosen as the flagship brand name. Their creations are now found in several countries and are sold through different retailers. Moreover, the company hires people with disabilities as well as those marginalized from society in order to transform their lives as well.
Of course the ideal would be to preserve these houses and restore them but unfortunately there are no serious plans to do so and there are many obstacles on the way. BBC made a nice report on 2b design which you can watch [Here]. You can also check out their [website] for further information.
A week ago, Beirut’s municipality removed the beautiful Tabaris mural that was set up by MARCH and ASHEKMAN as part of the campaign to remove “all political slogans” from Beirut. Knowing that ASHEKMAN and March NGO were authorized to draw this graffiti in the first place, they raised the matter to Beirut’s governor Ziad Chebib who admitted that they shouldn’t have erased the graffiti and invited them to meet and get a new permit.
Many thanks to Zaven for raising this important issue on his TV show.
The highly talented ASHEKMAN brothers have been covering the ugly political slogans and stencils from Beirut’s walls way before the Ministry of Interior decided to do so, and they’ve been sending out positive messages through their amazing graffiti murals, Arabic calligraphy, as well as Arabic rap music and street wear.
For those of you who are not familiar with ASHEKMAN, it was established in 2001 by identical twin brothers Mohamed & Omar Kabbani. Recently, Beirut’s municipality decided to remove their “To Be Free Or Not” mural in Achrafieh instead of encouraging and sponsoring young Lebanese artists to remove the ugliness from the city’s walls and replace them with beautiful artwork.
ASHEKMAN are not planning to slowdown anytime soon and have many upcoming murals to paint in Beirut, so stay tuned!
Here are five of my favorite ASHEKMAN murals:
The beautiful Tabaris mural that was painted by the awesome ASHEKMAN brothers was removed today by the Beirut municipality, as part of the campaign to remove “all political slogans” from Beirut. I don’t understand how this graffiti has anything to do with the stupid redundant political slogans that were being removed today, noting that ASHEKMAN and March NGO had received an authorization from Beirut’s governor and the building owner to draw this graffiti. Moreover, Beirut’s municipality should be supporting and sponsoring such positive messages and art works instead of painting over them!
I think we should regroup the soonest in the same place and help ASHEKMAN draw a bigger graffiti.
Check out the full story via [MARCH].
Check out this hand-draw short movie by Marylin Haddad that beautifully sums up everything we go through in our beloved Lebanon. It’s about a girl called Leila trying to dance in order to survive her daily stressful routines just like each one of us has found a way to relieve himself from all this stress and uncertainty.
Only few days ago, things were relatively calm and peaceful and all of a sudden, we were on the verge of a new war with Israel.
Update: Check out this amazing tribute by Magda Abu-Fadil from The Huffington Post.
Faten Hamama, an iconic Egyptian film star and the “Lady of the Arabic screen” has passed away yesterday at the age of 83. Faten Hamama lived in Beirut and London between 1966 and 1971 as she was being harassed by Egyptian intelligence during that time. She was awarded the “Al-Arz” decoration by the Lebanese President in 2001 and got an honorary doctorate from the American University of Beirut in 2013.
The above work is a tribute by my friend Corinne Martin, a Lebanese-Texan artist currently based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. You can check out her work [here].
Here’s an excerpt from an old movie showing Faten Hamama and Omar el Sharif:
The chair on which Miss World sat when she won was designed and made by a Lebanese called Edmond Boutros. It seems we are only good at making chairs these days, not filling them.
It’s been almost 9 months now that we don’t have a Lebanese President.
I love figurines, specially the ones that are meticulously crafted and contain a lot of details, so you can imagine how excited I was while unwrapping my “Mr Barbecue” figurine by Guillermo Forchino that Virgin sent me as a gift. Forchino is an Argentinian artist born to Italian parents who creates comic sculptures with a lighthearted sense of fun and color. He has quite a large collection that includes boats, planes, motorcycles and cars and he has created in recent years a line of individuals in sports and a variety of professions that was named the “ Professionals Series”. The figurine I got is shown below and is almost 45cm long. As you can see, the details are amazing and the whole thing is just beautiful.
“A good barbecue is hard to do!” explained Freddy to his two kids who listened mesmerized. “First, is to start the charcoal. Then the grill is heated so it can be easily cleaned.” The kids, charmed by the master chef, listened attentively. “Then, gently place the pieces of meat and sausage on the grill. Finally, and this is the most important, patiently wait for the exact moment when the meat is perfectly cooked, and then….there is nothing left to do, but to enjoy yourself!”
Price-wise, the figurines are quite affordable as the most expensive one costs around $280 which is a very reasonable price considering the amount of work and the size and weight of the object. The one I got costs around $235 but you can find smaller items that start at around 100 or $150. I am already considering buying my parents one of them as a Christmas gift and getting myself the F1 car.