Single Man Wall Mural Destroyed

This is such a heartbreaking thing to wake up to, the colorful and beautiful wall mural by the artist Jad El Khoury has been destroyed. The artwork titled “Single Man” was commissioned back in 2016 on the side of the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters. Jad left Lebanon and came to work in Kuwait and the artwork represented a single person trying to fit into a new chaotic environment. The project was sponsored by Jedareyat, a local volunteer group that scours the city and crowdsources for dead walls and artists who can transform them into picture-worthy landmarks.

I think I’m finding this extremely sad because of what the idea of destroying an artwork like this means. If the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters doesn’t appreciate art, then who does? Actions like this and the destruction of important landmarks like the Ice Skating Rink make me feel like we’re moving backward and not forward which is really worrying me. I want to express more of my feelings but I also don’t want to get deported so I will just keep it all bottled up inside instead.

41 replies on “Single Man Wall Mural Destroyed”

If anything, we need more such art and graffiti around kuwait to lighten things up and add color! everything is so sand colored and monotonous!

Someone was probably “offended” that there was some art out in the open. How on earth could you expose people to such Satanic things such as art and music! *pls dont deport, thank u*

Actually, the comment is neither dumb nor ignorant. Ask any musician or venue owner how onerous it was (pre-COVID) to get a gig in Kuwait. Ask about the actual government license required to perform in a venue as simple as a coffeehouse. Plenty of cities or countries require venues to have a cabaret license to present live music, but Kuwait is the only place I’ve known that requires a license for each individual performance.

Here’s the website for it:

It’s very very sad! On another note how come no one is talking about the Palace of Justice that will soon be demolished to make space for that new gigantic building… Kuwait’s heritage going down the drain! Literally..

I have some more bad news, I was passing by Salmiya street last weekend, and I noticed that McDonald’s closed down and maybe even Johnny Rockets.

Perhaps they might be thinking of promoting a different artist and/or subject this time. So a clean-up might have been necessary! #mythoughts

Painting over an artist’s work to make room for another? Art murals usually stay in a community for years and become part of the cultural and artistic landscape.

‘Usually’ is a subjective word. So is the word ‘Years’. Art is appreciated more when there are fewer and newer pieces. ‘Appreciated’ too is a subjective word btw.

Might be sad, but this “art” is totally unoriginal. Most of what I see around are just copies of arts from the east and west with an additional “local” element like a dress, ghetra, dallah, etc. Some are even trying to copy banksy which is quite sad. I hope they put up something more original.

thats a very unoriginal thing to say. doodles aren’t unique in themselves, it’s a form of illustration but that doesn’t make his work a copy. all you needed to do was click on his instagram account which i’ve linked to and you would have realized he isn’t a copycat and is actually a legit artist. Even Swatch commissioned his doodling for a watch.

I’m genuinely interested with what you may think would be “more original”. All art is subjective and the easiest thing to do is discard it and say it’s not original.

How about a “more original” opinion / criticism ?

that’s a completely different metter -all art IS subjective, however there is such a thing as copying someone else’s work else copyrights and suing for similarity might not exist.

So are you saying the work by Jad is a copy ? I’m not sure I understand your comment. I completely understand copyrights.

The initial comment here said it was “unoriginal” – what do they exactly mean by that ?

Clearly Jad has inspirations and he is expanding on that. But he is not copying.

This kind of shit is nothing new, I was working with a group that did a similar project to this back in 2014, and one of our walls was painted on because it had bright colors on it and it made people angry.

I cant even imagine what goes through in such people’s heads.


Like… yellow is suppose to invoke happy emotions. What’s going on in people’s heads.

Kuwait is single-handedly destroying all elements of its cultural and architectural heritage, and in turn, its identity. Our neighbors in the Gulf pay big bucks to have local and foreign artists, architects, curators and creators commission work for them to give them a modicum of character, yet Kuwait – a country that not only was historically leaps and bounds ahead of them all but was also the regional pioneer for the creative industry [art, theater, drama] – has been digging its heels in these past few years to wipe all the gems it has, something no amount of money can buy, away.

The original Chamber of Commerce building. Sawaber. Bayt Lothan. The “renovation” of the Sheraton. The ice rink. This mural. When will the Kuwait Towers be put on this list?

Having traveled through the Gulf and seeing the lengths that Doha, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Muscat and even Riyadh and Jeddah are going to to beautify their cities, I’ve seen everything from highways with colorful tiles and painted murals, trees and ornamental grasses along highways, clean streets and people with a sense of civic pride and fear of law to keep their cities and countries in the best possible shape. Kuwait, on the other hand, is under perpetual ‘construction’ and not necessarily for the better: we’re throwing up several floors of bridges without a drop of paint, carving out miles of asphalt without a blade of grass, smacking ugly buildings designed by hack architects on the most valuable real estate on our precious waterfront, riddling our streets with nonsensical billboards pushing our citizenry to buy buy buy, and a streetscape marked by crappy graffiti and overflowing garbage.

With this erasing of our physical treasures, we’re going to be left with a country that will be defined by its lackluster and incongruous architecture, stained façades, peeling paint, crumbling concrete, a lack of landscaping and gap-riddled bricks with weeds forcing their way through them – and we’ll have only ourselves to blame for it.

This is a great reply. My wife and I walk around quite frequently, and we feel (just our opinion) that very few spend time outside, so there’s no incentive to dress things up, so there’s no incentive to go outside, and then there’s no incentive to dress things up…

People spend time in their luxurious homes, then run to their luxurious cars to drive to a luxurious mall, then drive home with their new luxuries to put in their luxurious homes. Another vicious circle.

Museums are not kept up. Outside spaces are not kept up. Kuwait doesn’t seem to have a concept of “maintain what you have”. It’s a disposable country. And the more insular and disposable it becomes the less incentive for people to visit, the less chance it has of becoming cosmopolitan.

Maybe after they boot all the expats, some young Kuwaiti will take up the cause of pushing Kuwaiti culture “up and out”.

I don’t know when all of this started, but I remember the demolish of the Kuwait Marriott Hotel Ship on Gulf Road,

I was 13 back then and it felt very irrational to remove such iconic landmark what only added luxury and class to the scenic road.. how renovation was not an option is what I do not understand.

It’s just sad and demoralizing to see something beautiful wither away.

It was painted four years ago. How is it supposed to be refreshed? everyone knows what Kuwait heat does to buildings facade. Now we have a blank canvas for new artist to come and put new artwork on.

yeah, let’s just paint over all the Banksy and Shepard Fairey murals as well cuz they’ve been around for more than 4 years, cuz art expires 🤦‍♂️

You may already know this… But almost all painted art forms are done on white canvases. The same goes with painting walls of your home. A white base coat is mandatory for several reasons. So painting the wall of the ‘National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters’ in WHITE was inevitable either for a clean up or for having it repainted with another art. I’m hoping they intend to use the wall to commission a new artist shortly.

This situation is just a microcosm of what broadly is the status quo in Kuwait. Individual expression and initiative stifled unless endorsed by powerful interests and arbitrary decisions by unelected bureaucrats that don’t reflect the desires of the people.

The wall belongs to the National Council for Culture, so it’s their decision to do with it as they please. And 4 years is honestly long enough for them to use it on their portfolio etc etc.
Also NCCAL said that they’re commissioning someone else to do something new on that same space.
Don’t forget there’s still the other side of the building with the calligraphy that wasn’t touched.

The other side wasn’t touched because they were stopped from removing it. They actually wanted to paint over that as well (an artwork by the famous artist Fareed Abdal). So thankfully that was saved.

Your 4 years is long enough for them to use it argument is bullshit. The artwork didn’t have an expiry date and the reasons it was painted over were petty. Don’t make excuses for incompetence.

My first thought was just like yours “The wall belongs to the NCCAL, so it’s their decision to do with it as they please”. However, that argument stays only when it belongs to one particular individual or personal property which is not subject to rules of upkeep. But whatever is in public eye and specifically a public institution that says ‘NATIONAL COUNCIL…etc…’ must keep their ears open to accept public opinion. Whatever they do after that will be preview to the legal, religious, cultural laws of the land.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *