The urban street artist known as “el seed” has been displaying his style on buildings in Sharjah as part of an art project by the Maraya Centre.
The French-Tunisian has developed a style known as “calligraffiti” which fuses graffiti and Arabic traditional script.
He cites the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish and the Iraqi artist Sundus Abdul-Hadi as inspirational figures for their work and their courage in speaking truth to power.
His work is part of Jedariya a new live outdoor street art initiative by Sharjah’s contemporary visual arts hub the Maraya and included a mural on the walls of a Sharjah Bank Street building.
el Seed drew crowds of spectators over the ten days it took to complete the mural. He said he found his inspiration in a verse by acclaimed Sharjah poet Ahmed Bu Snida.
Although he grew up in France, eL Seed is ethnically Tunisian and currently lives in Quebec, Canada.
He said: “I never felt really French, and I really felt the need to get back to my roots. I thought a way to do that was to learn Arabic, so I found Arabic calligraphy.
“I started creating my own calligraphy without any rules, because traditional Arabic calligraphy is very in the box with a lot of rules that you need to know, so I started incorporating Arabic into graffiti.”