From graffiti to colorful canvases


Solomon Souza spray paints murals of characters that inspired him on shutters of Mahane Yehuda stores, ranging from biblical heroes to former Israeli prime ministers.

From early morning until late evening, the Israeli market’s narrow, covered alleys are packed with local shoppers and tourists pushing their way past packed stalls in search of the best fresh produce or juicy kebabs.

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But after dark, when the stall owners shut down shops for the night and roll down their metal shutters, the closed storefronts become a personal canvas for 22-year-old artist Solomon Souza.

Albert Einstein, Theoretical Physicist

Albert Einstein, Theoretical Physicist

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

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Souza’s tools for this night’s job are about a dozen spray-paint cans and his smart-phone. His glance alternated between the phone, depicting Lucy Aharish, a popular Arab-Israeli news anchor, and the three-meter-high (10 feet) version of her he was creating, one spray at a time.

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Souza and friends who help him, seek out store owners to get permission to paint their shutters, but sometimes they approach him and may ask for a painting of someone specific, such as a famous rabbi or family member. Others have given him free rein.

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A few stalls down from Aharish’s portrait, Souza chose to paint Si Ali Sakkat, a former mayor of Tunis who helped save Jews during the Nazi Holocaust.

(Left) Bracha Zefira, Musical Performer and (Right) Hadassah Badoch, Dancer

(Left) Bracha Zefira, Musical Performer and (Right) Hadassah Badoch, Dancer

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