Graffiti saw its beginnings in Lebanon during a 15-year long Civil War, which struck the country in 1975. Stencil art and graffiti became a tool of propaganda for the militias, and also highlighted the county’s sectarian divide. Street art in Lebanon has since evolved with new styles and techniques emerging such as Calligraffti, wheat-pastes, and public interventions. Although politically driven street art is still around, most of the art these days places huge emphasis on aesthetics. This is the first look into the new street art scene taking over Beirut today, starting with Calligraphy.
Officially Ashekman started in 2001. First with music and the graffiti roughtly at the same time, because as independant artists we wanted to promote our name, we wrote our name Ashekman on the walls so that everyone who would see it, would therefore hear about Ashekman’s music. They are independent artists and today through their hard work have become entrepeneurs. The art pieces have been custom-created to underscore the valuable contributions of Arab culture and inventions, each piece has been crafted with a metal body and paired with Arabic calligraphy to highlight Arabic culture within a modern context. Considered amongst the early adopters of Arabic calligraphy in street art, The twins share a common goal of reviving Arabic culture using urban context.
Their art has reclaimed public spaces, reclaimed the walls to showcase that art can speak just as loudly as any political poster and that art can be an outlet to bring power to the powerless and freedom to any expression. They care that their art can make a difference to people and be a visual language, whether through their project Operation SALAM (Peace) In Tripoli. This city is made up of two districts: one Sunni, the other Alawite, separated by the well-known street of Syria. From 2005 to 2015, the fighting was frequent. Tensions were exacerbated by the Syrian conflict where the regime has been fighting since 2011 against a rebellion mainly Sunni.