What if graffiti could be used to spread a message of hope across the world?

For the artist el Seed, this is no longer a question. His unique mixture of Arabic calligraphy and graffiti, calligraffiti, is already transforming spaces all over the globe.

el Seed caligraffiti on a wall with donkey cart in front of it

Source: eL Seed

Art has the fascinating power to help us rethink our perceptions and our prejudices.

Here is el Seed from the TED stage explaining the importance and impact his “calligraffiti” has had on the world…

Via: TED 1

Truly a beautiful way of spreading hope and peace across the globe!

El Seed Calligraffiti on Zaraeeb. The view from Moqattam Mountain in Egypt

Source: eL Seed

It is easy to dismiss projects that bring art to a community, particularly outside of a gallery or museum, as unimportant. But for the communities where el Seed brings his art, he is working with locals to reshape perceptions.

Here is his powerful statement about the piece pictured above:

In my new project ‘Perception’ I am 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.

To bring light on this community, with my team and the help of the local community, I created an anamorphic piece that covers almost 50 buildings only visible from a certain point of the Moqattam 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’ 2

The scale and importance of art…

It’s hard to understand the massive scale of some of el Seed’s pieces. They not only shape the walls they inhabit but reframe the environments that surround them.

Here is an incredible video about el Seeds project on the Jara Mosque. It really puts the scale and importance of this breathtaking piece into perspective…

Via: eL Seed 3

Very often we forget the important place art and design have in shaping and celebrating culture. It seems, though, we have an innate need for art to be a part of our lives.

el Seed’s mission to use street art to reshape people’s perceptions of place is shared by many other artists around the world who are hard at work utilizing the transformative power of art. We have written about a few of them here at EWC, so if you liked this project we suggest checking out the work of Haas & Hahn, an artistic duo transforming the favelas of Rio De Janeiro with massive murals. Or check out JR, an artist using massive photography installations to change the world.

If you want to see more TED Talks, check out our Best of TED page for some of our favorites, or you can check out all of the TED Talks we have featured!

Stay beautiful & keep laughing!

-Liesl

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Notes:

  1. Seed, el.”Street Art for Hope and Peace | EL Seed | TED Talks.” YouTube. TED, 23 July 2015. Web. 29 Mar. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0k4IQ8fDCY>.
  2. Seed, El. “@eL Seed – Perception – Zaraeeb – Egypt |.” El Seed Art. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2016. <http://elseed-art.com/el-seed-perception-zaraeeb-egypt/>.
  3. “Madinati – Calligraffiti on Jara Mosque, Gabes – EL Seed.” YouTube. El Seed, 6 Sept. 2016. Web. 17 Mar. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKNTkG5dr4A>.

Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

COO Ever Widening Circles

Liesl is a camera-toting traveler, a global story seeker, and an aspiring—but more often floundering—yoga lover. She can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV