Artist Transforms Neighbourhood Slum With Mammoth Mural
Neighbourhood slum transformed by a sprawling mural set across 50 buildings paying homage to Cairo’s garbage collectors, all without the government noticing.
Amid Cairo’s brick buildings and heaping piles of trash is a sprawling mural, which, at first, looks messy and incoherent. But when you stand on the nearby hillside and read the spray-painted Arabic “calligraffiti”, as its creator Tunisian-French artist eL Seed calls it, the message reads loud and clear, “If one wants to see the light of the sun, he must wipe his eyes.”
The quote represents the importance of withholding judgment of people just because of their circumstances, says eL Seed, who first visited the community a few years ago. He’s called the piece “Perception” for just that reason, hoping to get people to see past the area’s physical appearance.
The entire piece took three weeks to complete, but what’s most surprising is that eL Seed and several friends who worked with him had been able to complete the project at all, without being harassed or arrested.
Egypt’s high-handed government has shown little tolerance for artists, sending agents to raid cultural centres and recently prosecuting a novelist on charges that he had harmed public morality. Street artists who made the city their canvas in the heady days after Egypt’s uprising in 2011 have lately been forced to work hastily or in secret, carrying out projects “as you would a heist,” said Soraya Morayef, who has documented street art over the past five years on her blog.
People in The Community
eL Seed says he first hatched the idea for the mural on April 2 of last year. “I sent a WhatsApp message to my friend saying we should do this crazy thing,” before he and 20 others set to work on the project just outside downtown Cairo, in the Manshiyat Naser neighbourhood, the area was mostly a nondescript slum.
Armed with small scaffolding rigs and many, many cans of spray paint, the team set to work on turning the intricate illustration into a mammoth work of art. He admits he did miss-paint one small portion compared to the original drawing, but the point was never to create a flawless design.
Humility Brings us Together
Now fully finished, the piece will stay for as long as the community allows. “If a new building obscures the final piece, so be it,” eL Seed says. Even though the final view seems to stretch out to the horizon, “for me, it’s just a piece of art that captures a moment. It’s the story behind it that I think is more interesting.”
eL Seed is planning to return in a couple months for the release of a book on the project and an accompanying documentary his team is filming. “They changed my perception,” he says of the people in the community. “We should still have humility, and this is what brings us together.”
Oi! Stop Breaking Your Own Damn Heart!
Stop telling yourself you’re not good enough. Stop thinking you’re less. Stop walking around with your head to the ground, picking at every flaw, focusing on every deficiency, making a list of wrongs just to tape it to your chest and label yourself as unworthy.
Eneko at One Aldwych: Marrying Flavours Across Cultures
Marrying flavours across cuisines has been in practice for centuries. It’s only a natural progression in our evolution as people move around and settle in different parts of the world and food is the central sharing element across cultures.
5 Time Saving Steps to Creating Your First Newsletter
Email newsletters are bigger than ever before, and with the rise of the digital sphere, the ways in which we can create and consume content are constantly adapting and evolving. One method which has gained particular popularity in recent months is the email newsletter.
Summer Birthday? Be Inspired By These Awesome London Venues
From hipster hangouts in Shoreditch to posh party venues in Mayfair, London’s abundance of spaces that will make your friends wish they had changed their flights back from Ibiza.
Does Productivity Have a Set Time and Place?
The world around us is rapidly changing, and by that I don’t mean climate change. One big change – and I feel that maybe this doesn’t mean much to my generation – the level of freedom we have is an incredible privilege because it was that not long ago, that us women didn’t have the right to vote or even wear trousers.
Guess What’s Been Dubbed The Most Off-putting Thing You Can Possibly Do in An Email?
Work emails are, as we all well know, a potential minefield; tone can be lost, meanings misinterpreted, and tensions can reach insane new highs with each person you passive aggressively CC in.
My Open Letter to a Friend Who Needs to Realise Their Self-Worth
We’ve been taught to cover up the ugly parts, mask the pain, and respond with routine answers of “Things are good,” and “I’m fine,” whenever someone asks how we are. We keep silent about too many things, at the risk of misinterpretation or judgment for the irrational fears and self-doubt we all share.