As I was about to create a new post on the Tunisian artist el Seed I discovered that previously, writing about his work inspired by the Tunisian revolution I have made a rather shameful mistake of describing one work…but posting photos of completely a different one. I didn’t know what to do about it, should I admit making a mistake or just lie about but I decided I’d rather correct the unfortunate error. So, here is the entire post again, but with the RIGHT photos – which have not been published here before.
I know that this summer is a time of revolution in many countries, including the Muslin ones, with the coup d’etat in Egypt, protests in Taxim Square in Istanbul and social unrest in Brasil. As I have said some time ago, I do not want to discuss politics here, instead – I want to bring you a story of what may result from protests.
One year after revolts in Tunisia a community-based organization El Khaldounia based out of the capital Tunis organized and a project of creating a mural in Kairouan – place of cultural and artistic innovation since the first Islamic Empires. The project entailed the painting of a 40m x 7m wall positioned just beyond the turrets of the old Medina in Kairouan. To carry out their idea they have invited a Tunisian-born street artists el Seed. Other participants had spontaneously asked to take part in the project taking place in their town. Local Government and administrative entities, along with various community leaders, along with the Tunisian public, worked cooperatively hand-in-hand to realize this innovative idea. Itself a mini cultural revolution, the art project was the first of its kind in Tunisia, in both scale and style, in its effort to democratize art and cultural events. The organization’s mission – which is to protect and promote Tunisia’s cultural heritage, while encouraging citizens to invest in their country through cultural and artistic projects – has been fully accomplished in this action.
The wall on which the makers painted had actually been used to voice dissent and commentary throughout the protests. el Seed, the artist behind the work, says:
Folks painted freely on this wall and would discuss current opinions and the changing state of Tunisia. This wall, however, was painted over not long after the ousting of Ben Ali: those revolutionary words no longer able to conjure the memories of defiance and dignity. In this sense, the mural creation became a public memorial commemorating these words and their meaning. Intended as a message of hope to all those engaged in struggles against tyranny, corruption, and injustice, the wall now displays a passage by Kairouani poet El Husairy:
“I have seen time elapse
neither sadness nor smiles last
kings construct their kingdoms,
but neither they nor their dominions endure.”
رأيت الدهر مختلفاً يدور
فلا حزن يدوم ولا سرور
و قد بنت الملوك به قصوراً
فلا تبق الملوك و لا قصور
AND NOW FOR THE NEW POST
The new post was to be about the photos above. But since the old photos are here anyway, I owe an explanation as what is the project represented herein.
eL Seed used his distinctive style of Arabic street art, which he calls “calligraffiti,” to decorate the tallest minaret in Tunisia with a verse from the Quran that tackles intolerance.
The mural, on the Jara Mosque in eL Seed’s hometown of Gabes is 47 meters tall, 10 meters wide and covers two sides of the minaret, his biggest artwork to date.