Yazan Halwani, “Beirut’s Banksy”​.

Originally a street artist, Halwani’s work has matured significantly since he first embraced calligraffiti in his teens. In recent years, calligraphy has begun to fire the imagination of a new generation of young artists who are striving to create street art with an Arab identity. They ignore the rules of traditional calligraphy, instead combining its unique visual language with the conventions of graffiti. A predominantly Western art form has thus been co-opted to create counter-cultural Arab street art.

Halwani seeks to solidify the link between the people of Beirut, their culture, and the Arabic language, creating popular murals of Fairouz, Asmahan, Khalil Gibran, Mahmoud Darwish…

The 25-year-old has quickly become one of Lebanon’s brightest young artists and his work is already part of the city’s fabric.

Referred to as “Beirut’s Banksy” by Arab media outlet Al-Arabiya, Halwani has also produced artwork for international street art events, and his work has appeared in Germany, Singapore and Paris. By taking his calligraphy outside the Arab region, Halwani says, he wants to instigate “cross-cultural conversations” and to inspire a “positive view of the Arab world.”

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