In his project Perception, eL Seed is questioning the level of judgment and misconception society can unconsciously have upon a community based on their differences.
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.
DMZ SOUTH Korea
Bringing people, culture and generations together through Arabic calligraphy is what eL Seed aspires to achieve through every artwork. When the Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art in Ansan, South Korea approached him to create an art piece in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea, the goal was to celebrate a call for reunification, unity and mutual respect. eL Seed’s initial plan was to build a bridge-like sculptural artwork that would curve upwards to a height of 20 meters, but stop at the mid-way point.
Bridges are never built from one side; their very nature needs a step forward from both sides, so by extending the sculpture to the mid-point, he was intending to make a gesture of solidarity. The project would remain unfinished until another art piece was installed in North Korea, thus making it the ultimate symbol of unification.
When eL Seed moved to Dubai in 2013, it was to start a residency at Tashkeel–a studio hub and arts centre based in the Nad Al Sheba district of the city. His final show after the year-long residency was titled Declaration and the lettering was formed in three-dimensional shapes, protruding from the walls and curving around the corners. The words were taken from a poem by Nazir Qabbani, a Syrian poet famed for his sensual compositions, who wrote to his wife telling her no matter how much she aged, she would always be beautiful to him. The artist took those words to make a similarly emotional testimony to his art and make a love declaration to calligraphy…
Autumn/winter 2013 season marked the first time that Louis Vuitton manufactured a product designed by an artist from the Middle East.
As part of its autumn/winter Foulard d’Artistes (‘Artists’ Scarves’) project, fashion powerhouse Louis Vuitton adopted a design by eL Seed on its emblematic giant silk square.
On his rendetition of the Louis Vuitton scarf, eL Seed illustrated four verses from a poem dubbed “Venice Carnival” by Taha Muhammad Ali. He gave an homage to the people of Venice, a tribute to the beauty and elegance of this city and its openness to the Eastern world. During the 12th century, the Pope forbid any relations between Europe and the Arab world…
Myrelingues La Brumeuse
Lyon is known as the city of a thousand languages. Legend and myth swirl at its shores and it is a place where fiction and truth overlap. This spirit is captured in Myrelingues La Brumeuse, a historic novel written by Claude Le Marguet about the fictional birth of the silk industry in 16th century Lyon. Its title (translated approximately as A Thousand Misty Languages) has become indicative of the city itself. eL Seed chose the title of this novel for his project for the 14th edition of La Biennale De Lyon (2017) to convey the sense of mystery the city evokes.
The event, held under the title Floating Worlds (CHK), was a showcase of artworks “docked in the heart of a territory whose identity was partly shaped by the ubiquity of water in a city that rose from the waters and through which the Rhone and the Saone run”.
SOUL OF THE BLACK BOTTOM
This mural in West Philadelphia is titled Soul of the Black Bottom. It comes from the neighbourhood’s history of demolition and displacement and quotes part of the semi-autobiographical text Darkwater: Voices from within the Veil by W.E.B. Du Bois. As a sociologist, Du Bois wrote the first sociological study on African American community in Philadelphia and as an author, he addressed civil and political rights through both fiction and non-fiction.
Lost or forgotten were the walls that now proudly carry the messages of eL Seed, from his road trip around Tunisia during the summer 2013, beautifully and poetically documented in his first book ‘Lost Walls’. Sparked by the reaction to his project on the minaret of the Jara mosque in his home town of Gabes, eL Seed decided to set out on a month long personal journey across his mother country painting ‘Lost Walls’ along the way. The resulting book provides a unique and rare insight into eL Seed artistic process and Tunisia.
In 2012, when eL Seed painted the minaret of Jara Mosque in his hometown of Gabes, in the south of Tunisia, he never thought that an art piece would bring so much attention to his city
Initially, he was just looking for a wall in his hometown, and it happened that the minaret was built in 1994. And for 18 years, those 57 meters of concrete stayed grey. When he met the Imam of the Mosque for the first time, and he told him what he wanted to do, the Imam responded, “Thank God you finally came,”. For years he was waiting for somebody to do something on it. The most amazing thing about this imam is that he didn’t ask me anything — neither a sketch, or what I was going to write…