Graffiti artist turns gritty Jerusalem market into colorful canvas

Feb 29, 2016 22-year-old graffiti artist, Solomon Souza, recently converted the walls of Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem into colorful canvas.

The bustling food market, which is one of Jerusalem’s most popular shopping sites, is almost always packed with local shoppers and tourists in search of the best fresh produce.

However, when the stall owners shut up shop for the night and roll down their metal shutters, the closed storefronts become a personal canvas for the London-born artist.

Speaking during an interview, Souza said:

“Around a year ago, we started a project in the Shouk (market) of Mahane Yehuda. We started to turn the empty shutters, when the shops close at the night time, into a gallery of Art, of historical inspirational characters,”

In the past year, Souza, helped by his friend, Berel Hahn, has painted about 140 shutters with graffiti-style murals of characters ranging from biblical heroes to former Israeli prime ministers.

Also speaking during the interview, Berel Hahn explained how he came up with the idea.

“I was walking to the Shouk (market) on a Shabat (Saturday) afternoon and I envisioned it full of colour and full of people. And, so it developed into idea to establish historical educational inspirational gallery here in the Shouk (market)”

To avoid charges of vandalism, Souza and friends, usually seek out store owners for permission to paint their shutters. However in other occasions, the shop owners approach them to paint someone specific, such as religious leaders or family member.

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