A street artist in Cairo, Egypt recently painted one of the most ambitious and gorgeous murals we've ever seen, and he did it all in secret, without the knowledge of the Egyptian government. Check out his amazing story below.
Most of his pieces are fairly small-scale, appearing on buildings in both urban and rural environments.
He called the mural "Perspective" because he hoped to change people's minds about the neighborhood. His website reads: "They have been given the name of Zabaleen (the garbage people), but this is not how they call themselves. They don’t live in the garbage but from the garbage; and not their garbage, but the garbage of the whole city. They are the ones who clean the city of Cairo."
EL Seed didn't alert the Egyptian government to his plans for fear that it might get him, his friends, or some of locals in trouble, considering Egypt has very strict laws prohibiting public artistic expression.
Ultimately, the mural was painted on about 50 buildings in the neighborhood.
And they often worked in poor conditions — eL Seed said he frequently had to step over pigs and trash during the painting process.
"We were trying to appreciate the moment," he said.
He said he rarely took breaks during the painting to verify that his mural was matching up to his original design.
Though, eL Seed said he didn't set out to create a flawless design.
Because Manshiyat Naser is a poor, relatively dirty nook of Cairo, authorities don't spend much time there. And eL Seed said that's one of the main reasons he and his crew chose the location for the mural.
“Sometimes when you come from outside, you don’t see all the problems that might happen,” eL Seed said about the people who warned him not to paint the mural. "I was trying not to look at the political situation, the economic struggles, and just focus on the art project.”
This gives the mural's name of "Perspective" a double meaning.
The quote comes from a 3rd-century Coptic Christian bishop, and it reads: "If one wants to see the light of the sun, he must wipe his eyes."