Reviving Hamra Street

In the heart of Lebanon’s capital city, Beirut, Hamra Street once stood as one of the preeminent cultural, economic, and intellectual center of Arab world. Hamra Street housed journalists, politicians, and leaders who were exiled from other nations, and was the site of inception for opposition movements. But after the Lebanese Civil War, the district never quite recovered.

Yazan Halwani works to preserve the fading history of Hamra Street in his wall-sized street murals. His signature style combines Arabic calligraphy with portraits of Lebanese and other Arab figures – from world-famous recording artists to resident street urchins. While reflecting the storied histories of Beirut’s streets onto themselves, Halwani hopes that he can bring back the spirit that once inhabited neighborhoods like Hamra Street.

This episode was originally aired in 2015.

Produced by Dana Ballout and Hebah Fisher,sound design by Ramzi Bashour. Special thanks to Yazan Halwani, Maria Abunasr, music by Khaled el Habrشارع الحمراand Sabahجيب المجوز يا عبود. Kerning Cultures is a Kerning Cultures Network production.

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