Beirut has been in the headlines since the horrific explosion that shook Lebanon's capital city on August 4th, 2020. Protesters have taken to the streets in opposition to political leaders they believe have failed them. Lebanon's currency has collapsed, mass unemployment plagues the country and the average Lebanese person is hard-pressed to put food on the table. (If you want to help, World Central Kitchen is already on the ground in Beirut and has begun feeding people. If you want to help Lebanon in the long-term, Jobs for Lebanon calls on the Lebanese diaspora to make freelance hires inside Lebanon.)
Beirut has a rich street art scene that many believe to be the best in the Middle East. Its roots are political, dating back to Lebanon's civil war which ravaged the country from 1975 to 1990. During the war, various militias tagged up to establish their territory and stencil art was used as propaganda. From these seeds grew the vibrant contemporary street art scene. Well known artists include Ashekman, the collaborative effort of identical twin brothers Omar and Mohamed Kabbani whose thing is Arabic Calligraffiti and Yazan Halwani, known for his portraits. And check out these artists on Instagram: @apocaleps, @ali.rafei and @dihzahyners. Discover Beirut's street art here: Kami & the Rest of the World, Sonja's Eye on the World and Middle East Eye.