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Middle East: 4 must-see places for street art lovers

In the Middle East, street art is making a mark, transforming the image of certain neighborhoods. This is the case in Cairo, for example, where the work "Perception" by the Franco-Tunisian artist eL Seed highlights a marginalized community. But street art is also a vehicle of peace in countries affected by armed conflicts. From Egypt, through Lebanon, all the way to Jordan, here are four places where impressive urban art is ever growing.

1. Cairo’s ragpickers’ district

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It has been three years since we did 'Perception" People always ask me 'What's next?'. I've looked for places, scouted neighborhoods, sketched, but it took me time to realize that I just wanted to re-live 'Perception' a second time. It was indeed the most amazing human experience I have ever lived. Since then I was looking to do something of the same scale, searching for the same emotions, expecting the same human interactions. I was wrong. It didn't make any sense to search for the same experience. Today, I am looking for the same unique adventure with as much meaning and depth. We have completed many great projects and have many more to come. Each one unique in its own story. #perception #stathanasius #zaraeeb #egypt #cairo

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The story begins in 2015, when the street artist eL Seed decides to pay tribute to the ragpickers of Manshiyat Nasr. It is in this poor district of Cairo, perceived as the “garbage district” that the Coptic community of Zabbaleens collect and sort the capital’s waste. With the approval of the “Priest of the ragpickers,” Father Samaan, the Franco-Tunisian artist and his team set out to design this colossal work. A giant “calligraffiti” stretched across more than 50 buildings. The message? A quote in literary Arabic dating back to the 3rd century: “Whoever wants to see the sunlight must first wipe his eyes.” To read the entire scripture, one can do so on the heights of Mokattam, a hill east of Cairo.

2. Beirut

Although elsewhere graffiti may be seen as an act of vandalism, in Beirut it flourishes on the walls with pride. Here, mural paintings are even considered as efforts towards the reconstruction of the country. It erases the traces of the war, covering the bullet holes with bright colors, embellishing every corner. And even though the capital remains very militarized, the officers approve of the art. Between large colorful frescoes and uplifting messages, street art has established itself here as a vehicle for peace. Spotted and admired everywhere in the city, including Ouzai, a slum that has become THE hotspot for street art!

3. Dubai

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"Sky is the limit!", Inspiring Street art from Dubai 🇦🇪 by 👩🏻‍🎨 @fatma.i.alali (📷 courtesy of @christindim ) 👏🏻 ____________________________________ Just a quick reminder that for the current topic, I've chosen "Colorful 🏳️‍🌈" street art. If you have any street art in your collection with loads of colors🌈, either tag me or use #thegraffitihub in your hashtags for a chance to be featured!😊 ____________________________________ ____________________________________ ____________________________________ #colorful #colorfull #colorfull #colourful #colorfulart #colorfulstreets #colorfulmural #colorfulgraffiti #colorfulstreetart #streetartdubai #graffitidubai #dubaistreetart #dubaigraffiti #dubai #graffiti #streetart #urbanart #mural #streetartporn #grafite #جرافيتي #گرافيتي #skyisthelimit #دوبي #دبي #arabart #arabartist #arabartists #fatmaialali

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Mid-research for the best destinations for street art, and you ruled out Dubai? You are mistaken! The Emirate has several streets that are specially dedicated to urban art. Among them is Jumeirah Beach Road, the city’s famous road where the works of 30 local and international artists are exhibited. There is also the City Walk with the mythical creations of Blek Le Rat, Ron English or D*Face. Unless you prefer to stroll along La Mer, an open-air beachfront gallery exhibiting impressive graffiti.

4. Amman in Jordan

It is upon strolling through Downtown, the name given to city-center Amman, that you will discover the most beautiful works of street art. A profusion of “calligraffiti” and drawings, bringing hope and good vibes! Because yes, here we avoid political or religious subjects. The graffiti artists wish above all to give free rein to their dreams and brighten up the capital. Along the pavements and stone stairs, one will spot plant arrangements, geometric shapes, animals or strange creatures.