This epic ‘Fight Club’ of the street art scene, inspired by Marvel comics and traditional graffiti, has conquered more than 80 cities – in 40 countries – over the past decade. And it isn’t stopping any time soon.
Most recently taking on Beirut, Lebanon, Secret Walls first began its underground ‘art fight’ nights in 2006, in the trendy East London neighbourhood of Shoreditch. Since then, it has gone on to host over 2,000 shows on almost every continent on the planet.
In Beirut, the fight night took place at Mad House Beirut, a new artistic space dreamed up by Chady Abousleiman.
‘There are so many up and coming artists, but there’s no platform for them to expose themselves,’ Abousleiman told Culture Trip. ‘There’s no platform for them to showcase their art or even build the community that they want to… So Secret Walls is one of many [platforms] that could bring us together.’
The event calls on either two artists or two teams to create a piece of art using only a black marker or acrylic paint as their instrument. Filling large blank canvases up to 25 feet (7.6 metres) in height, the artists battle against one another to come up with the most epic artwork possible in the allotted time of 90 minutes.
Founded by Terry Guy, Secret Walls attracts aspiring artists from all styles and backgrounds. Crowds come to watch the ‘art fight’ unfold and vote via cheering, with two guest judges also adding their opinion to the final decision. Round by round, as in a boxing ring, the artists battle it out until eventually a victor is crowned and the winner is awarded $1,000.
Something of a club night, complete with DJs and great vibes, this is an incredible creative outlet for those involved in the making of the art itself. And for attendees, it is a truly unique event to be a part of. It’s rare that such a throng of people are able to witness an artist in action, and that is what keeps the crowds coming back night after night, city after city, country after country.