Jordan is a landlocked country that’s 90% desert. Even its capital, Amman, densely speckled with housing, is a beautiful palette of ochre. A perfect place for street art and graffiti to bring in more color. Suhaib Attar is an Amman-based artist, who covers the local buildings with angular colorful designs. Some show animals, some show humans, some are purely decorative, and some serve a purpose. Like the one pictured above, dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Great Arab Revolt, when Arabs strove to liberate themselves from the Ottoman rule and to create an independent Arab state. The result of the revolt, among other things, was the creation of the Emirate of Transjordan—and yes, that’s what we now know as Jordan.
Suhaib Attar, however, is not only interested in Jordan’s origins. He is very much a part of the country’s most recent fame as the oasis of calm in the tumultuous Middle East. Ever since mid-20th century, Jordan has been a place where refugees all across the region flee from conflicts and war. Currently the highest amount of refugees hail from Syria, and Suhaib Attar has been active in working with the Syrian children in the refugee camp. He teaches them art, and helps decorate camp barracks, gloomy, sad affairs, with designs akin to his own, but created by the children themselves.
And, of course, because geniuses can do ten things at a time, Attar also travels for his art. For instance you can find his murals in Portland, OR. And that’s great, because any American city could use an injection of Arab art to shake things up. Maybe he’ll come to NYC.