The unexpected significance of eL Seed's calligraphy work in Brazil

And where to see works by the Dubai-based calligrafiti artist in the UAE and around the world

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When UAE-based calligrafiti artist eL Seed started painting on a "random" roof in the Vidigal favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, he had no idea just how significant it would be, he has revealed in a recent Instagram post.

When he had finished the pink and black calligraphy and graffiti piece, he found out it was actually the roof of an art school run by Brazilian artist Vik Muniz.

The piece he is referring to in his Instagram post dated May 26, 2019, actually dates back to 2015.

Click through the gallery above to see where you can find more of eL Seed's work in the UAE and around the world. 

"I didn't know it was an art school when I painted the rooftop of this building in Vidigal favela," the French-Tunisian, Dubai-based artist explains in the post. "[A] few days after I left Brazil, I received notifications from a post by Vik Muniz saying, 'This morning, the roof of the school was painted with this huge tag by an unidentified artist, and I must say, it's quite beautiful [...] Thanks, awesome tagger.' Out of all the houses in the favela, I had to paint on the school of the renowned Brazilian artist."

In the last month, a new piece by the artist has been unveiled at London's British Library.

The piece on show is part of the Writing: Making Your Mark exhibition, which will run until Tuesday, August 27. It features over 100 objects, spanning 5,000 years and sourced from seven continents.

As well as eL Seed's calligraphy piece, which is displayed below busts of the four founders of The British Library, also included in the exhibition are James Joyce's collection of notes for Ulysses, tattooing instruments, a notebook of Alexander Fleming's, ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs and early editions of The Canterbury Tales.

eL Seed painted his canvas with black and silver lettering at The British Museum, and included a quote from Khalil Gibran's grave, which reads: "I'm alive like you, standing beside you. Close your eyes and you will see me in front of you."

Of the significance of language he says, it's the "main part of an identity." In a video, produced by The British Library, he recalls having an "identity crisis" as a teenager growing up in France, with the need to "choose between being French and Tunisian".

He goes on to say that Arabic script and calligraphy made him "reconnect between those two identities." Adding: "Today, I want to use this as a tool to create the same connection between other cultures, other people and other generations."