eL Seed

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eL Seed
ELSeed.jpg
Born August 21, 1981 (1981-08-21) (age 35)
[citation needed]
Le Chesnay, Île-de-France, France
Known for Art Installation, Sculpture
Notable work Perception in cairo
Website elseed-art.com

eL Seed is a French/Tunisian artist born in Paris in 1981, eL Seed's intricate compositions call not only on the words and their meaning but also on their movement, which ultimately lures the viewer into a different state of mind. Working primarily with subjects that seem contradictory, eL Seed's art reflects the reality of mankind and the world we live in today. eL Seed installed his work on public spaces, galleries and institutions on every continent. From the streets of Paris or New York City, to the Favelas of Rio di Janeiro or the slums of Cape Town.

Early life and career[edit]

Djerbahood, Tunisia[1]

Born to a Tunisian family in France in 1981, eL Seed grew up speaking only the Tunisian dialect, and did not learn to read or write standard Arabic until his teens, when discovered a renewed interest in his Tunisian roots.[2]

He cites the 2011 Tunisian Revolution as a major factor in the opening of political space to alternate forms of expression. "The revolution pushed people to be more creative because before they were scared – and now they have more freedom."[2] He created his first large-scale mural one year after the beginning of the Tunisian revolution, in the city of Kairouan. This mural was a calligraphic representation of passage from a Tunisian poem by Abu al-Qasim al-Husayfi dedicated to those struggling against tyranny and injustice.[2]

His most controversial project was the 2012 painting of a minaret of the Jara Mosque in the southern Tunisian city of Gabes. About the project, el Seed explained, "my goal was to bring people together, which is why I chose these words from the Quran. I like graffiti because it brings art to everyone. I like the fact of democratizing art. I hope it will inspire other people to do crazy projects and not to be scared".[2]

eL Seed's art has been shown in exhibitions in Berlin, Chicago, Dubai, Paris, and São Paulo, and he has also painted murals on the walls of various cities including Melbourne, London, and Toronto, in addition to various Tunisian cities.

Perception, Cairo, Egypt[edit]

Zaraeeb in Cairo, Egypt, 2016

In his last project ‘Perception’ eL Seed is questioning the level of judgment and misconception society can unconsciously have upon a community based on their differences.[3] In the neighborhood of Manshiyat Nasr in Cairo, the Coptic community of Zaraeeb collects the trash of the city for decades and developed the most efficient and highly profitable recycling system on a global level. Still, the place is perceived as dirty, marginalized and segregated. To bring light on this community, with his team and the help of the local community, eL Seed created an anamorphic piece that covers almost 50 buildings only visible from a certain point of the Muqattam Mountain. The piece of art uses the words of Saint Athanasius of Alexandria, a Coptic Bishop from the 3rd century, that said: ‘Anyone who wants to see the sunlight clearly needs to wipe his eye first.' 'إن أراد أحد أن يبصر نور الشمس، فإن عليه أن يمسح عينيه'

Salwa Road, Doha, Qatar[edit]

Salwa Road, Doha, Qatar, 2013

In early 2013, eL Seed was commissioned by the Qatar Museums Authority to create a series of 52 artworks in Doha's Salwa Road area.

The Zaraeeb community welcomed my team and I as we were family. It was one of the most amazing human experience 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 call themselves. They don’t live in the garbage but from the garbage; and not their garbage, but the garbage of the whole city. They are the one who clean the city of Cairo.

Art on Jara Mosque, Gabes, Tunisia[edit]

Jara Mosque in Gabes, Tunisia, 2012

Reacting to the clashes between religious sects and the art community in Tunisia, the artist embarked on a project to transform this religious landmark into a public artwork during the holy month of Ramadan. eL Seed's large-scale production cites traditional principles of Arabic script with a modern sensibilities.

Recent tensions in Tunisia have sparked a critical debate about the limits of artistic freedoms in the birthplace of the Arab Spring as it undergoes a nascent transition to democracy. "This project is not about decorating a mosque, it is about making art a visible actor in the process of cultural and political change," comments el Seed, who started work on the mural on July 20. "I truly believe that art can bring about fruitful debate, especially within the uncertain political climate right now in Tunisia."

The project was approved by the Governor of Gabès and the mosque's imam, Shaikh Slah Nacef. The 57-metre-high (187-foot) mural will permanently cover the entire concrete tower face of Jara Mosque in hopes of highlighting the convergence of art and religion and raising the public's awareness by infusing art directly into the urban landscape. Exhibiting the words, "Oh humankind, we have created you from a male and a female and made people and tribes so you may know each other," eL Seed quoted a verse from the Quran which addresses the importance of mutual respect and tolerance through knowledge as an obligation.

"I hope that this artistic wall on the minaret will help to revive the city, and especially tourism in Gabes," commented Shaikh Slah Nacef.

Exhibitions[edit]

2012[edit]

  • October 2012 – The Walls, solo exhibition – Itinerrance Gallery, Paris

2013[edit]

  • solo exhibition – Medina, Tunis

2014[edit]

Declaration, sculpture exhibition – Tashkeel Gallery, Dubai

2016[edit]

  • Cairo - Arttalks.

Personal life[edit]

eL Seed is based in Dubai.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ben Cheikh, Mehdi (2015). Djerbahood : le musée de street art à ciel ouvert. Albin Michel. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Art on Jara Mosque". CNN. September 19, 2012.
  3. ^ Fahim, Kareem (March 28, 2016). "Sprawling Mural Pays Homage to Cairo's Garbage Collectors". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 15, 2016. 

Books[edit]

  • "Lost Walls"[1] writter by eL Seed and publisher From here to Fame

Further reading[edit]

  • Arabic Graffiti curated and authored by Lebanese typographer Pascal Zoghbi and writer and publisher Stone aka Don Karl, released April 15, 2011.

External links[edit]