Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wednesday Artist: eL Seed

I write on walls, I write messages that talk to the people.
~ eL Seed

In Manshiyat Naser, a ward of Cairo, Egypt, where city garbage collectors (slangily and derogatorily called "zabaleen") live, French-Tunisian artist eL Seed undertook a self-funded conceptual art project to bring attention to the area, which, he discovered, is overwhelmingly Coptic Christian, and a recycler of some 80 percent of the trash generated in the district. As eL Seed notes in his essay at TED, once he saw the area, he realized how wrong his assumptions and perceptions had been about the neighborhood and its residents. 

With the blessing of the local priest, eL Seed conceived of "an anamorphic mural",  that is, a work that is recognizable only from a specific vantage point. "I chose this technique," eL Seed recounts in his essay, "because I wanted to raise the topic of how people tend to judge others without knowing them at all. . . I wanted to create a symbol that forced people to look from the correct angle . . . to see clearly."

The public mural eL Seed created spreads out over 50 buildings in Manshiyat Naser. It can be seen in its entirety only from a mountain nearby. Here's a very quick look:

A TED Fellow, eL Seed describes himself as a calligraffiti artist; that is, he combines Arabic calligraphy with graffiti. He has painted the world over. 

For additional images of eL Seed's Cairo project, see Tech Insider's feature of March 30, 2016.

Other videos and images of eL Seed's calligraffiti are available at his Website. Also see his sculptural work.

eL Seed has written about his project to paint 24 walls in Tunisia in four weeks in Lost Walls: A Calligraffiti Journey Through Tunisia (From Here to Fame, 2014). His limited edition of the book sold out.

Cover Art

eL Seed's TED Talk, "Street Art with a Message of Hope and Peace" (2015)

eL Seed on FaceBook, Twitter, and Instagram

Odeith of Lisbon, Portugal (view a Twisted Sifter feature on Odeith),  and the team Truly Design (see "Great Anamorphic Murals" at Where Cool Things Happen) also paint anamorphic murals. There are many such murals to be found around the globe.

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