An explosion of images adorns the once drab concrete of Aley’s bridges, walls and walkways– from eye-popping Arabic calligraphy to cartoon characters, historical figures, whimsical children, Banksy-like stencils and Cubist paintings.
In 2017, the NGO Ahla Fawda (literally Best Chaos) founded by Eman Assaf, partnered with the municipality of Aley and the Tourism and Culture ministries in an unusual bid to commission graffiti from a selection of Lebanese and U.K. street artists.
“Aley place has incredible art, old buildings, vast views. It could be just as important as Jounieh or Baalbeck, and only 30 minutes from Beirut,” Assaf said. “We’re here to highlight the work already done, and bring it the attention it deserves.”
“While famous artists have come to Lebanon, adorned some walls, and dashed back to Europe, we’ve never seen real partnerships between Lebanese and international street artists before,” Assaf said.
“Through the festival’s street art, we’re working to grow local talent while also creating long-term cross-cultural collaboration.”
After the festival, several participating Lebanese artists travelled to the U.K. for residencies.