New mural in Cairo’s Garbage City spans over 40 buildings, helps residents ‘see the sunlight’

Published March 31st, 2016 - 10:49 GMT
The French-Tunisian street artist eL Seed's latest work is a massive mural covering more than 40 buildings in Cairo's Garbage City. (Instagram)
The French-Tunisian street artist eL Seed's latest work is a massive mural covering more than 40 buildings in Cairo's Garbage City. (Instagram)

The Cairo suburb of Manshiyat Naser, better known as "Garbage City," takes its name from the fact that the streets are lined with trash, and the people living there - Coptic Christians who earn a living sorting garbage and recycling everything they can - are referred to as "zabaleen," or the "garbage people."

But the people living in Garbage City are proud of how they've managed to support themselves, and it's become known as one of Cairo's most welcoming neighborhoods for visitors.

And now outsiders have another reason to visit: a new, massive mural covering the sides of more than 40 buildings in Manshiyat Naser, designed by the French-Tunisian "calligraffiti" street artist eL Seed.

The mural appears as only a jumble of bright colors and letters except when seen some a certain vantage point, where the message becomes coherent.

The calligraphy in the mural takes its message from a quote by a Coptic Christian bishop: "Anyone who wants to see the sunlight clearly needs to wipe his eye first." 

eL Seed's work meshes traditional Arabic calligraphy with vibrant street art, often containing social messages promoting cross-cultural understanding and coexistence. He has painted in Tunisia, France, Dubai, and Los Angeles. 


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