22/03/2016 06:06 GMT | Updated 22/03/2017 05:12 GMT

Street Artist eL Seed Changes Perceptions With Arabic Graffiti That's Optical Genius


[Source: eL Seed]

I've interviewed eL Seed before - covering his work and the calligraff bléd'art wildstyle Hip-hop Arabesque Franglais fusion-chic that's filling canvases and walls across the world.

So it was a real shame that I couldn't make the unveiling of his latest project 'Perception' at Art Dubai 2016, accompanied by a talk with Glenn D. Lowry, director of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, at the Global Art Forum held in Dubai. End of term university lectures and a pile of marking kept me grounded in London. I hope my students are happier than Pharrell to have me hang around.


[Source: eL Seed]

Born to Tunisian parents, eL Seed spent his formative years in the suburbs of Paris juggling different cultures, languages, and identities. He channeled these experiences into a form of artistic expression that blends Arabic calligraphy with graffiti - creating a modern art style called Calligraffiti.

eL Seed's current project took one year of planning, and showcases the Coptic community of Zaraeeb, in the neighborhood of Mokkatam Mountain in Cairo.


[Source: eL Seed]

Over the course of three weeks, eL Seed and a team of 21 workers created an anamorphic circular piece of artwork that covers more than 50 buildings, visible from only one point on top of the Mokkatam Mountain, looking down onto the city.


[Source: eL Seed]

The image used fluorescent white paint that was illuminated as a finale to the project, for the neighborhood.


[Source: eL Seed]

The Zaraeeb community collect, sort and recycle the daily garbage of Cairo by hand. It's an unfortunate fact that they are perceived by the wider community as being dirty. eL Seed said:

"The Zaraeeb community welcomed my team and me as if we were family. It was one of the most amazing human experiences I have ever had. They are generous, honest and strong people. They have been given the name of Zabaleen (the garbage people), but this is not how they perceive themselves. The Zaraeeb community is not poor, but isolated; not marginalized, but pushed away. They are just a reflection of our society. They don't live in the garbage, but from the garbage, and not their garbage, but the garbage of the whole city".


[Source: eL Seed]

eL Seed, seen in the photo above with a baseball cap and specs, used the context of Zaraeeb to question how communities judge and look down on people, and the impact of perceptions on our conscious or unconscious actions.

I would love to see some of Zone3 in Londonistan rockin' his flava - eL Seed bring your spray can and flip some perspectives for your fam 'round my way.