En “Vogue”: Walk Up the Stairs with Beirut’s Dihzahyners

A photo from a Lebanese Instagram account, Dihzahyners, was surprisingly featured on Vogue’s website, sparking international interest in a flight of stairs in Beirut’s Mar Mikhael.

When you’re featured on the website of one of the world’s most famous fashion and lifestyle magazines, you know that things just got serious and that’s exactly what happened when Dihzahyners was featured on Vogue’s website in a photo feature about the world’s most interesting stairs.

This is how the stairs look before any work… Here, we speak to Dihzahyners… to learn more about them, their work and more…

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Did you know you were going to be featured in Vogue magazine?

No we didn’t, we were told by our friends and people started to tag us in it, also started to share it on their private accounts.

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How did the whole process start…Did you ever imagine that you will be recognized internationally?

We had been researching about ways to help out, through urban design, and intervening in the public spaces/locations in Beirut for a while, and found that painting particular places that need some freshening and brightening up would be great! We put together and organized our first event on April 8th, in Sakiet el Janzier, then another on April 28th, at the end of Bliss – the rest or most recent that we’ve put up, are in Mar Mikhael and Azarieh or Ashrafieh. We’ve always researched and shared visuals from around the world with one another of street art, graffiti, outdoor and urban design, and as designers we always are inspired to try such things. However, we wanted to aim at making a real difference in the landscape of Lebanon, and really change communities that people live in. We thought because we were still a small group at the time, that we would start with stairs, and possibly gain awareness for bigger events such as walls, and so on; starting with projects and having it grow into a real movement to help reshape the way Beirut looks, and how people feel when they are living in a more rejuvenated community! Paint Up is aimed at rejuvenating areas in Beirut, Lebanon and making the city a brighter, more positive environment through urban and outdoor paint/color initiatives. We feel that the atmosphere that people live in and that surround them affect their moods, behavior and their overall perspective to how they view their city. We intend to bring that love and positivity back to the streets; to help Beirut shine. We never imagined that one day we will reach to this point where we are now, but with constant support of our friends, family and the community we’ve succeeded.

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Tell us more about you guys? Who are you? What do you do? 

Paint Up developed into a thriving NGO, through the support solely of the community. That’s how Paint Up was born. What had started off as a one-off experiment, turned into a continuous journey into developing and changing the urban fabric of our city. The main team, which we then called ‘Dihzahyners’ started as 12 members, the founders being Jubran Elias and Lana Chukri. But in time, that number grew and continues to grow every day. Usually we do our events in one day especially the stairs. Every initiative we’ve had, they’ve pushed forward. Colortek, our sponsors, contacted us very early in, and they have been wonderful. Since we’ve started, we’ve had 7 major Paint Up ‘Volumes”, 3 exhibitions, and we’ve also teamed up on initiatives with Beirut Art Center, Ayadina, Achrafieh 2020, Live Love Beirut, Beirut Green Project, Dispatch Beirut, Kroum Ehden, Tedx, and a personal favorite Achillea’s ‘Waiting for the train’.

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What are you working on today?

We still have so many projects going on, but the one upcoming is to rejuvenate the Masaad Stairs which is the one featured in Vogue (Paint Up V.4). We want to make this event huge. We want to create a hub and make sure everyone takes part in it’s “revival”.

All Photo Credits: Nadim Kamel

 

 

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