EL SEED SPOKE BY PHONE
FROM HIS DUBAI STUDIO
Let’s start with “calligraffiti.” There are quite a few artists who do it now. Did you coin the term?
No, to be honest with you, this is a term that has been used the first time in New York for a show, I think in ’84. A show created by Jeffrey Deitch for some calligraphy artists and some graffiti artists from New York. He had this vision 30 years ago that calligraphy and graffiti would merge together. To be honest with you, me today, I don’t even use this word to define myself. I’m just using calligraphy in my artwork. I do sculpture, I do canvases, I do art installations. I’m trying to get out of the box that I think I used to be in a few years ago.
Art by Safwan Dahoul/ Ghayath Almadhoun is a Palestinian poet born in Damascus, Syria, in 1979, and living in Stockholm since 2008. With the Syrian poet Lukman Derky, he founded Bayt al-Qasid (Hou…
Source: Ghayath Almadhoun: The Details.
Amid Cairo’s brick buildings and heaping piles of trash is a sprawling work of art, 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, and eL Seed says it was done in total secrecy from the Egyptian government due to the country’s strict laws forbidding artistic expression.
It is difficult to create art in isolation,” says master calligrapher Khwaja Qamaruddin Cheshti. The artist “needs to be surrounded by older art, and maybe he combines his skills with the inspiration he finds in older pieces.”
Cheshti is speaking through a translator from the Turquoise Mountain Institute for Afghan Arts and Architecture in Kabul, Afghanistan. A restored, 19th-century fort in the historic Murad Khane neighborhood, its alcoves topped with delicately pointed arches, it is a fitting backdrop to speak about two weeks he and more than a dozen Afghan artists and craftspeople spent in Doha, Qatar, at the Museum of Islamic Art—or mia—where Cheshti rediscovered this age-old truth.