eL Seed gives tunnel a patriotic touch

January 29, 2013 - 3:41:28 am

QMA Chairperson H E Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al Thani with graffiti artist eL Seed (extreme right), and his volunteers for the ‘calligraffiti’ murals project in the Salwa tunnel, yesterday. 


DOHA: World renowned graffiti artist eL Seed has taken inspiration from Qatar’s National Anthem for the first set of murals he created in the first tunnel on Salwa Road.

Verses from the anthem,  including the ones that translate in English as Travel the high road; Travel by the guiding light of the Prophets and Doves they can be at times of peace, Warriors they are at times of sacrifice were inscribed on the murals in the “Liquid Alphabet” calligraffiti style.

eL Seed uses this style to construct calligraphy writings on top of each other giving the impression of travelling calligraphies.

With a team of volunteers from Qatar, eL Seed has already finished six out of the 52 panels in four tunnels along the seven -kilometre stretch in two weeks.

“This is one of the biggest art projects I have done and probably one of the biggest graffiti projects in the world,” eL Seed told the media during a visit to the tunnel yesterday.

He said he was happy to have been commissioned to do the project.

The French-Tunisian artist arrived in Doha earlier this month and started the four-month “calligraffiti” murals project as part of the big Salwa Road project, which is a significant upgrade to the existing road. 

Each of the large-scale murals will feature unique themes inspired by anecdotes from Qatari culture and markers of Qatari life. 

It was Qatar Museums Authority’s Public Art Department and the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) which commissioned eL Seed for the ‘calligraffiti’ murals project. Present at the tour yesterday were H E Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al Thani, QMA Chairperson, and Engineer Nasser Al Mawlawi, President of Ashghal. 

On commissioning eL Seed for the project, Khalid Ali of QMA Public Art Department, said: “We are trying to bring a new form of art that relates Arab and Qatari culture to the people.”

Jean Paul Engelen, Director of Public Art at QMA believes the creative project will change people’s perception of street art. 

“We believe that through Arabic calligraphy and authentic, culture-specific themes in creating the murals, eL Seed will help the Qatari community accept and admire unconventional graffiti artwork,” said Engelen.

Born to Tunisian parents, eL Seed grew up in France and started spray painting in the late 90s. 

Moving to North America, eL Seed’s interests in Arabic calligraphy and contemporary street art collided and fused together.

His “calligraffiti” murals express and reflect a search for identity that resonates with many young people growing up with a spectrum of cultural influences. 

Taking inspiration from the past to encourage hope for the future, his work has been displayed on streets, galleries and museums around the world and featured in many international publications.

Those interested to join or follow the project can find details on the website www.elseedindoha.com. 

The Peninsula