Dina Toukan and Leen AlHaddad believe that hunting down street art should be on every traveler’s to-do list. With the goal of raising awareness about street art in Amman, Jordan, and encouraging people to interact with each piece of art, the two women started an Instagram account called Amman Street Art. Today, the account boasts nearly 4,800 followers, but the number is ever on the rise.
The Amman Street Art account (@ammanstreetart) features street art from around the Jordanian capital, focusing on photos submitted via direct message or tags by people who pose in front of murals.
According to Dina and Leen, street art has become increasingly popular in Amman over the last 2-4 years, largely because of the Baladk Street Art Festival. The festival, hosted by Al-Balad Theatre and documented on the Amman Street Art page, brings Jordanian and international artists together to create pieces centered on themes like co-existence and women’s rights.
Dina has a background in business, and Leen is an interior designer, artist, event designer, and design educator, but a passion for street art brought them together. They love the way the streets can function as an art gallery, where you can look at a piece one day and see something completely different the next.
They met and talked about their love for street art, and afterwards, they explained, Dina was on Instagram “doing what she does best: stalking and looking up street art profiles.” The idea for an Instagram page was born when she realized that Amman was lacking something that many cities in the Middle East already had: accounts dedicated to street art.
After this discovery, Dina and Leen made it their mission to bridge the connection between emerging street artists and the community. They brainstormed ways to engage the community with their new account, and Leen came up with the idea of asking people to pose with murals and take photos — hoping that this would motivate them to truly stop, admire, and engage with each piece, rather than just snapping a quick photo for Instagram.
At first, the page’s growth was slow because people didn’t know how to interact with the art. It began to gain popularity when the women posted an example, showing the two of them admiring and posing in front of murals.
Now that the account has gained a larger following and more people are exposed to the murals, Dina and Leen also aim to connect street artists with organizations that would like to add a touch of graffiti to their spaces.
They are also always looking for ways to get more involved in their community. During Ramadan, they collaborated with @mysevensworld on the #FeedingAll campaign to encourage their followers to purchase a sticker — with the proceeds going toward fighting hunger — and pose with it in front of murals. Since Ramadan is about giving back and fighting hunger, they said, they decided to encourage followers to get involved in this movement during the month-long period of fasting. They plan on launching more campaigns similar to this in the future, as street art itself is a way to raise awareness and draw attention to various issues and different viewpoints.
They firmly believe that when locals and travelers alike engage with street art, they’re exposed to new perspectives and ideas. For travelers looking for street art in Amman, Dina and Leen said the best places to visit are downtown Amman, Jabal Amman, Sweifieh, and Jabal Al-Weibdeh.
Whether you’re an artist, a history buff, an adventurer, or anything in between, taking the time to stop and observe the street art in a destination can teach you something new about its culture and creative scene — and Amman is no exception.
Cover photo by Anna Utochkina