Jedareyat is currently revolutionizing the way people view and treat public property in the country. Take a walk down Kuwait City and you will notice beautiful murals painted across building exteriors, creating a perfect marriage between the old and the new. What were once neglected buildings with vandalized walls, now serve as an artist’s canvas, conveying to its onlookers a message that is sure to stay with them long after they have walked on.
Sulaiman AlRawdhan, Ameena Al Mutawa, and Abdulaziz Al Rushood, are the dynamic Kuwaiti trio behind Jedareyat, a growing social initiative that has over the last year gained both momentum and popularity in the country.
It all started one day when Sulaiman was headed to a meeting at the Ministries building in Al Qsoor. His eyes fell upon a wall that had been vandalized. “My first thought, about what was painted on the wall, was that no one should be looking at this. I ended up sharing my thoughts with someone, and somehow before I knew it the Minister of Social Affairs was involved and asked me what it was that I would do with the wall?”
The best way to fight ugliness in this world is by creating something beautiful and that is just what Sulaiman did. Instead of just white washing the wall, he put together the core team for Jedareyat, who consequently turned the wall in question into a blank canvas for artists who could create a beautiful message that was not only pretty to look at, but also inspired the onlooker.
What started with one wall in Al Qsoor, has now turned in to a national movement!
Any successful social effort stands on the shoulders of many able people, and Jedareyat is no exception to that rule. Aziz and Ameena are the two pillars who along with Sulaiman give Jedareyat its firm grounding. “I knew that Aziz and Ameena, were the right people for the project because only they would be able to give the kind of commitment, both in terms of time and effort that a project like Jedareyat needs. And needless to say, I have never been more right!”, said Sulaiman when we asked him how the team got together.
When asked how they choose their projects and what attracts them the most to a wall, Sulaiman was quick to quip, “ugly is attractive!”
Jedareyat is not looking for landmark buildings that will put them on the map, but rather walls and buildings that are in dire need of restoration and renovation. The reason Jedareyat is so special is because the initiative is making a difference where it matters most.
While street graffiti in itself is an age old art, it is considered vandalism in many parts of the world. And this is precisely where Jedareyat comes in. The group believes that while change is necessary, it is equally important that it be done right.
The process of renovating any wall starts by first acquiring the proper permissions and documentation, both from ministries and private owners, depending on who the owner is. “A lot of times street graffiti, no matter how beautiful it is, gets painted over because the proper permissions were not acquired. Our intention is to create something that will for years to come provide people with a positive thought, rather than get painted over because it was done illegally,” said Ameena, on why it is quintessential for the projects to have proper approvals.
Once the permissions are done, the wall is then prepped to create a canvas the graffiti artist
s can work on. “It’s really all on hands on deck from here on. We use social media and word of mouth to have people come join us in creating a mural. Other than the artists we need people who can help out with all sorts of things from white washing the wall, to logistics and supply. The best part however is the involvement of local kids in the project. I feel like we are contributing in changing their mindset from an early age. They see public property differently when they are involved in the process of its beautification,” said Aziz, the man behind Jedareyat’s social media campaigns.
Graffitifreak, Karim Jab, Ashekman brothers, Hisham Handi, Ricardas Blazukasand and Abdullah Al-Enezi are only some of the names Jedareyat has so far collaborated with.
While Sulaiman, Ameena and Aziz, all have day jobs, Jedareyat, they say it their way of giving back to the society. Most of the renovation work done by Jedareyat happens after work hours and during weekends. Time management is a key ingredient in the running of the show.
“Getting together is by far the biggest challenge we face. We all have our professional and social commitments. What helps the most is the fact that we are friends and we understand each other. So many a times, we can get a lot of work done without really meeting in person. Our commitment to Jedareyat and mutual respect for each other, takes us a long way.”
And friends they are! The easy camaraderie between the three is clearly visible to anyone who has seen them together. While Sulaiman loves the ideation process, Aziz draws his satisfaction from a finished project and Ameena enjoys the fact that people acknowledge and appreciate their effort. In this way, and many others, each of them brings to the table a talent that the other two compliment.
In the age of change where a lot of people want to contribute to the betterment of the society, Jedareyat is creating a platform for people to participate more actively. From the involvement of government officials to locals and international graffiti artists or sponsors who provide monetary aid and the people who turn up every time a wall is getting a face lift, Jedareyat is creating a social change initiative that is truly – ‘of the people, by the people and for the people.’
Jedareyat is the standing proof of Gandhi’s famous words, “Be the change you want to see,” the only difference being, the change that these illustrious minds are making is inspiring everyone else as well.