French-Tunisian street artist eL Seed and his team recently created what is surely one of the most mind-boggling pieces of public art in Cairo where the walls of about 50 buildings in the Zaraeeb community of Manshiyat Nasser now form a stunning work of calligraphy written in black, white, turquoise, and ochre.
The piece,which can only be seen in full from a specific point on Jabal Al-Moqattam, was created making use of eL Seed’s characteristic style of arabic calligraffiti and makes reference the words of the 3rd century patriarch of Alexandria, St. Athanasius whose motto reads,”Anyone who wants to look at the sunlight clearly must wipe his eyes first.”
eL Seed explains the work as follows:

“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’
The Zaraeeb community welcomed my team and I as we were family. It was one of the most amazing human experience I have ever had. They are generous, honest and strong people. They have been given the name of Zabaleen (the garbage people), but this is not how they call themselves. They don’t live in the garbage but from the garbage; and not their garbage, but the garbage of the whole city. They are the one who clean the city of Cairo.” – eL Seed

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All images via eLSeed


Author: Fran

Founder and editor of Urbanite. Street Art lover who after the finishing her MA thesis on the muralist movement in the 1920-50s, developed a fascination for street art and graffiti that eventually led to collaborations with different art blogs, including the creation of this one.

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