Street artist eL Seed has created a perception-bending mural that spans almost 50 buildings in a Christian Coptic community in Cairo.
Fittingly called ‘Perception’, the colourful calligraphy work only comes together as a cohesive piece when viewed from the nearby Mokattam Mountain. Look from anywhere else and the mural looks disjointed.
The Arabic calligraphy in the mural draws on the words of Saint Athanasius of Alexandria, a Coptic Bishop from the 3rd century, who once said: ‘Anyone who wants to see the sunlight clearly needs to wipe his eye first.’
Says eL Seed: ‘I am questioning the level of judgment and misconception society can unconsciously have upon a community based on their differences.’
The artist specifically addresses the misperception of the Christian Coptic community, known as the Zaraeeb. For decades, the group has been cleaning rubbish off the city streets and even developed a profitable recycling system.
Yet the Zareeb are still marginalised and have been given the derogatory tag of ‘Zabaleen’, meaning ‘the garbage people’. eL Seed hopes his work will bring about a change in their reputation.
‘They don’t live in the garbage but from the garbage; and not their garbage, but the garbage of the whole city,’ he adds. ‘They are the ones who clean the city of Cairo.’