Middle East’s Largest Mural Was Carved Out of Cement

Khaleel Abu Haltam artist, Middle East's largest mural, bronze mural in Amman, cement mural cast in bronze, Jordan, Arab art, Arab art history, ancient Nabatean people, Ancient city of Petra, most popular couchsurfer in JordanWe tend to lean away from cement as much as possible given its super high embodied energy content, but we can’t help but admire this phenomenal mural carved out of the material and cast in bronze by Khaleel Abu Haltam.

The 31-year-old mural artists spent four months working on the mural, which opened on Sunday night to a crowd of eager onlookers.

Commissioned by the Jordan Directorate of Arts and Theater in Amman, the region’s largest mural depicts the progression of arts in the Arab world, and pays particular attention to the ancient Nabatean people who built the remarkable city of Petra circa 312BCE.

(Learn about the most popular Couchsurfing host in Jordan, a cave dweller from Petra.)

Water-smart people who understood the ways of the desert, the ancient Nabateans were among the first artists and agricultural specialists in the region, and their history has been carved into a section of the massive mural that took four months of hard work to complete.

One of the artists’s friends, Huda Kaoud, told Albawaba that Haltam wore no gloves to complete the project. Instead he used his bare hands, and said very little about his accomplishments.

In addition to documenting other archaeological sites such as Greco-Roman ruins from the ancient cities of Petra and Jerash, the mural depicts music, sculpture and theater that developed throughout the ages.

Nothing is surprising about the Arab world’s artistic achievements, although it might be for outsiders taught that the Arab world is overrun by overzealous fundamentalists intent on turning us all into raging Jihadis, but it is exciting to see that historical development cast in a storied, permanent light that will inspire future Arab artists to cherish their rich heritage.

Haltam studied art at Jordan’s Yarmouk University before traveling the region to work on various commissions and now he is working as the resident artist for the Jordanian Ministry of Culture.

:: Story and image via Albawaba

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