The Inevitability of Leaving Things Behind

TThe 24- year old lebanese fine- and street artist Yazan Halwani was recently invited to the MONTANA-CANS partner project STADT.WAND.KUNST (City.Wall.Art) in Germany to paint a mural at the inner city of Mannheim. Yazan Halwani is well known for his figurative motives combined with calligraphic elements. Yazan was born 1993 in Beirut and belongs to the one of the Middle Easts Graffiti and street art pioneers. He started painting Graffiti when he was 15 years old. His artistic roots deriving from classical New York graffiti even though his reality was something far different… Lebanese Artist Yazan Halwani paints mural in Mannheim


“My works are made of two components, one that is over-arching across all my works and another that is specific to each work: The over-aching component is basically in relation to the artworks’ fit within the history of Art in the Arab world which has been stuck in traditionalism. Arab art has been stagnating at largely at abstraction (through calligraphy and geometry) for a few centuries, my work is an attempt to push traditional arab art in new directions through using calligraphy as a pixel to create imagery. Artwork specific, each work has a specific objective, in the case of Mannheim it is a crystalization of the difficult moment when a man is moving cities, countries or homes when he needs to decide what he takes with him and most importantly what he does not. On a literal level these could be just objects, but on a symbolic level things that he might not take could be his relationships, ambitions, and sometimes identity.”


Progress of the recent mural painted in Mannheim


The artist about his recent work

“Over the past 5 years, my murals have been an attempt to create an imagery that reflects a Lebanese or Arab identity; and had painted Asmahan, Mahmoud Darwish, Feyrouz, Sabah and Umm Kulthum. Today, I realize that these images touch on the folkloric and fail to reflect the ‘real’ modern Lebanese identity. I think a real portrayal of identity should contain starker imagery: the chaos associated with the necessity to immigrate or the difficulty of seeing others do that. That moment where you, your sibling or your friend realize the need to move from home and become an expat because the economy and the political deadlock erase the prospects of a present there.

The moment when you decide on obtaining a second passport to access better education or job prospects, the moment where you hear about someone struggling to get a work residency somewhere. That same moment when you become the target audience of banks’ ads to sell you an ‘expat loan’; and Lebanon becomes a future ambition that you intend to go back to “soon”… And most importantly, the moment where in front of your bag you have to decide what you take with you, and what you leave behind.”



“I was invited by Stadt.Wand.Kunst and the Alte Feuerwache to Mannheim, Germany, a city populated by more than 160 nationalities where I decided to paint this first mural in a new series on a more realistic view of identity. The mural crystallises that moment in front of your luggage when you decide on what you will leave behind because you cannot take everything.”

– Yazan Halwani –

Title of this mural located in F6,12 Mannheim “The Inevitability of Leaving Things Behind“. The artist used regular wall paint, brushes, Montana ACRYLIC paint ink as well as different colors of Montana GOLD spray paint.

More on the artist’s Facebook- & Instagram page and the STADT.WAND.KUNST website

Photography by Alexander Krziwanie / MONTANA-CANS




Introducing Lebanese Street Artist Yazan Halwani