Yazan Halwani, a finance specialist and artist, is famed for his graffiti murals of popular national icons such as Sabah, Fairuz, and Mahmoud Darwish. For his latest body of work, he has shifted from the production of public murals to a studio practice that he has developed over the last 3 years. This work consists of three series of narrative paintings that present scenes of daily life in Lebanon. Together these series attempt to dispel the myths of Lebanese exceptionalism centering on the successful expat, the Phoenician, the Lebanese polyglot. Halwani’s work sheds light on the inextricability of economic downfall and migration in Lebanon from within the fabric of a total system of free-market, financialized capitalism.
Yazan Halwani is an artist born in post-war Beirut, Lebanon, where public spaces were lacking, and the lack of art infrastructure made art and design highly undemocratic and inaccessible to the public. He was led to create installations in the public spaces to allow everyday people to reflect on their own identities and challenge dominant narratives in a highly sectarian, normalized post-war environment. His public artworks have frequently gone viral and are embraced as landmarks within the city. He earned his undergraduate degree from the American University of Beirut, and his graduate degree from Harvard University. His work has been featured in international publications, such as The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Economist’s 1843, and in exhibitions in the USA, France, Germany, Tunisia, Ivory Coast, Lebanon, Jordan, UAE, Bahrain, and Singapore. His work can be found in private and public collections around the world, including The Arab World Institute in Paris, the Barjeel Art Collection in Sharjah, and the KA collection in Beirut.