Urban artist completes Sharjah street project

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.”