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Volunteers use graffiti to add colour to Amman

By Muath Freij - Feb 02,2014 - Last updated at Feb 02,2014

AMMAN — A group of volunteers has began beautifying the capital's neighbourhoods by drawing graffiti on the walls and painting some of downtown Amman's old stairs.

Hiba Harahsha, who launched the initiative, said the idea came to her after she noticed that walls in the city only display the phone numbers of advertisers or inappropriate phrases.

"We wanted to turn these walls into beautiful works of art. The plan was to organise an event one Saturday, but then we decided to make it a regular event every Saturday," she told The Jordan Times in a recent interview.

Harahsha said the team now organises graffiti events in areas like Abu Nseir, Ras Al Ain and Jubeiha. They also work on painting walls near the Interior Ministry Circle.

She noted that around 30 volunteers and 10 painters took part in past activities.

"The theme of the paintings depends on the imagination of the painter, but we also suggested some themes."

The activity is part of Baderah, a voluntary initiative established in 2012 with the aim of encouraging the spirit of volunteerism among young people.

Harahsha said most volunteers did not have enough experience in painting, so artists used to draw the sketch and volunteers coloured them.

The team has supervised 15 paintings on walls near the Interior Ministry Circle, in addition to several other locations.

Rawan Rimawi, one of the volunteers, said she decided to keep working with the initiative after she saw the positive public reaction it received.

"Two old men told me that they have been using the stairs in the Abu Nseir area for 30 years and they always felt tired when climbing them. But now, the graffiti distracts them and they don't break a sweat," she added.

The paintings make these areas more beautiful and give another cultural dimension to Amman's neighbourhoods, Rimawi told The Jordan Times.

Harahsha said the next step is under way to write verses taken from the work of Jordanian poets as graffiti around the capital.

"This measure will introduce these poets to a great number of people. We will draw each poet's face alongside the verses that he/she wrote."

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