WATCH: Graffiti transforms neglected Beirut neighbourhood into art mecca

2019-03-05 15:00
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Ouzai, a once neglected neighbourhood near Beirut, is being transformed by passionate painters.

A group of art activists have taken over the destitute suburb with their paintbrushes and bright colours to transform Lebanese's perception of the area - as well as creating an art hub that attracts artists and tourists from all over the world.

PICS: Jozi loves graffiti

At first, locals weren't too impressed with the bright colours, but it eventually helped boost the community's morale and their economy, as their sea views of the Mediterranean became another draw card and shops had sprung up to support the influx of visitors. Now locals go on painting missions themselves in the ever-changing artwork that is their home.

Using art to boost a poor community is a common practice around the world, including the streets of Cape Town's Woodstock and Salt River suburbs and in Johannesburg, creating art tours to areas normally avoided by visitors.

However, it has raised some criticisms around rather putting the money towards basic necessities and job creation instead of making it pretty for tourists. Middle East Eye also reported that other criticisms involve the history of Ouzai, which is largely made up of illegal settlements established during the civil war and there have been longstanding legal battles with the landowners to reclaim their land. 

ALSO WATCH: The ever-changing graffiti canvas of Sao Paulo's Vila Madalena is a once in a lifetime experience 

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