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An Artling Online Exclusive: eL Seed


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The Path II by eL Seed

An Artling Online Exclusive: eL Seed

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An Artling Online Exclusive: eL Seed

Image courtesy of eL Seed

The Artling is pleased to announce our latest online exclusive with French-Tunisian artist eL Seed eL Seed is a contemporary artist whose practise crosses the disciplines of painting and sculpture. He draws from the wisdom of writers, poets, and philosophers from around the world to convey messages of peace and commonalities of human existence. He uses his art as an echo of the stories of the communities that he meets around the world and aims to amplify their voices. 

His work has been shown in exhibitions and in public places all over the world, including the facade of “L'Institut du monde Arabe” in Paris, the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, the  DMZ between North and South Korea, the slums of Cape Town, and the heart of Cairo's garbage collectors neighbourhood. In 2021, eL Seed was selected by the World Economic Forums as one of the Young Global Leaders for his vision and influence to drive positive change in the world.

"The Journey" by eL Seed. Lebanon. Image courtesy of eL Seed.

He finds his artwork serves as a means of building a link between people around the world. Whenever he works within a community, he spends a long time learning and being inspired by them researching to find the best art installation to summarize the voice of the community he is working within and to underline his key principles of love, respect, and tolerance. In his 2019 project "The Journey", eL Seed visited the refugee camp of Ain Al Helweh in south Lebanon and met a group of women artisans who are preserving the old art of Palestinian Embroidery. He was inspired by this and decided to paint a few murals around the camp and then ask the women to reproduce them into Palestinian embroidery, which would be sold later on.  

Although the project occurred within the camp, they felt like they had taken a journey beyond its walls. Their living conditions are hard but they stand their ground and show their resilience, strength and pride through their crafts and art. They carry their Palestinian identity with them in their hearts and in their actions. Some of them have never visited Palestine but they still continue the tradition of embroidery, which has been passed down through generations. Each stitch closes a wound that exile has opened. 

We also had the opportunity to speak to eL Seed to find out more about his artistic practice, Calligraffiti, and his multicultural heritage. Scroll down to read more! 

"Lost Walls" by eL Seed. Tunisia. Image courtesy of eL Seed.

"Declaration" by eL Seed. Image courtesy of eL Seed.

You are one of the leading artists working in the medium of “Calligraffiti” – could you explain to us what gave you the initial idea of incorporating Arabic poems about love and peace into your artworks?

Calligraffiti is a word that I use anymore as I feel the word has lost its essence over the years. My work is definitely a mix of calligraphy and graffiti, but I don’t want to limit myself to these practices. Today my work has evolved to more medium than just painting. I explore sculpture, art installation, video. My work carries the legacy of the Arabic proverbial tradition where the message prevails. I write messages that are relevant to the place where I am painting, but messages that have a universal dimension so anyone around the world can relate to it. I have been exploring the subject of love in some of my artworks and in recent projects such as ‘Templates of Love’. My work questions our humans conditions and explore different themes such as perception, displacement, love and so on. 

"The Bridge" by eL Seed. DMZ, South Korea. Image courtesy of eL Seed.

"The Bridge" by eL Seed. DMZ, South Korea. Image courtesy of eL Seed.

How do you choose the poems which you incorporate in your artworks, and do they have a connection/meaning to the location you are spraying them on?

Every artwork that I create has a meaning and there is long research that happens before I do the project to find the right quote, the right words relevant to the place. I try to always connect the community to the theme of the project that I want to tackle. I always make sure the message is relevant to the place. The message has also a universal dimension so anyone around the world can relate to it. 

The Path II by eL SeedIconLink
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What feeling would you like to provoke with the meaning of the poems that you choose?

Being Human, we all have emotions and I believe we connect to art because of our emotions, because of our humanity.  I don’t have one goal or one feeling. But a least if with my art I can change the perception of at least one person on a certain subject, I think I am succeeding in what I do.

"Perception" by eL Seed. Cairo. Image courtesy of eL Seed

You were born in Paris, your family is from Tunisia. How would you say your heritage influenced your practice?

My artwork was born out of an identity crisis. Being born in France from Tunisian parents created a lot of questioning as teenagers. Was I French? Was I Tunisian? Both countries made me feel, I needed to choose between one of them. I couldn’t be both. I had to make the choice. I decided to be Tunisian. It made me go back to my Tunisian roots, learning to read and write Arabic and then later on discovering Arabic calligraphy. Growing in this path, I realized that I would have never been able to do what I do if I was not born and raised in France. Arabic calligraphy allows me to reconcile my identity and today I use it today to bring cultures, people and generations together. 

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From London to Cape Town-You have worked on murals all over the world. Do you adjust the murals created in each location based on the context? 

Of course, I try to adapt my work to the context. I make sure that the artwork I create is relevant to the place where I am creating it so people of the community can connect to it. My artwork is for the people of the place.

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What is your next dream location and why?

I don’t have a dream location because I feel I am living my dream. There are so many projects I love to do and sometimes I feel I need ten lives to be able to do everything that I want to do but I am living my dream now. 

Which project are you most proud of to date?

I am proud of every project because each of them is related to the story so there is nothing as such called as favorite. Each one is linked to a certain human experience. What I do as an artist is collect moments and this is kind of fuel that keeps me going. Each project has its own story, challenges and this is what it makes them all beautiful in their own way. 

Image courtesy of eL Seed

Any upcoming projects you can share with us? 

I never talk about my project before I do it. I love to keep it as a surprise.


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Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.


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