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.

EL Seed is a Tunisian-French artist who specializes in Arabic
EL Seed is a Tunisian-French artist who specializes in Arabic "calligraffiti," which is similar to American graffiti.

Most of his pieces are fairly small-scale, appearing on buildings in both urban and rural environments.

But last year, he got an idea for a project that was much, much bigger.
But last year, he got an idea for a project that was much, much bigger.

"I sent a WhatsApp message to my friend saying we should do this crazy thing," he told Tech Insider. The plan was to create a massive, colorful mural over scores of buildings in a slum outside of Cairo where many garbage collectors live.

So eL Seed started drawing up plans for the giant mural.
So eL Seed started drawing up plans for the giant mural.

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."

So eL Seed gathered 20 friends together and got to work.
So eL Seed gathered 20 friends together and got to work.

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.

However, eL Seed and his friends did get permission from some of the locals...
However, eL Seed and his friends did get permission from some of the locals...

"We got the blessing of the priest," eL Seed said. "He gave us permission and everyone in the neighborhood knew about it."

The crew used scaffolding rigs and spray paint to begin work on the mural.
The crew used scaffolding rigs and spray paint to begin work on the mural.

Ultimately, the mural was painted on about 50 buildings in the neighborhood.

The crew typically worked 7 days a week, from sunrise to sunset.
The crew typically worked 7 days a week, from sunrise to sunset.

And they often worked in poor conditions — eL Seed said he frequently had to step over pigs and trash during the painting process.

Still, eL Seed and his crew maintained a positive attitude during the project.
Still, eL Seed and his crew maintained a positive attitude during the project.

"We were trying to appreciate the moment," he said.

And so did the locals.
And so did the locals.

"Every time we go to a new building, we don't know what to expect," he said. "You reach for one ledge and someone offers you some tea and food. It's always a positive attitude, and that's what we tried to absorb."

In order not to be discovered by authorities, eL Seed and his crew had to work almost nonstop.
In order not to be discovered by authorities, eL Seed and his crew had to work almost nonstop.

He said he rarely took breaks during the painting to verify that his mural was matching up to his original design.

And he admits he did mess up a small portion of the mural...
And he admits he did mess up a small portion of the mural...

Though, eL Seed said he didn't set out to create a flawless design.

Part of the reason the crew was able to paint the mural without interference from authorities was the neighborhood's location.
Part of the reason the crew was able to paint the mural without interference from authorities was the neighborhood's location.

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.

Still, the project wasn't without risk...
Still, the project wasn't without risk...

“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.”

To see the mural in its entirety, you have to view it on a hill behind the neighborhood.
To see the mural in its entirety, you have to view it on a hill behind the neighborhood.

This gives the mural's name of "Perspective" a double meaning.

From a distance, you're able to see the quote that makes up part of the mural:
From a distance, you're able to see the quote that makes up part of the mural:

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."

By all accounts, locals don't have any gripes with the mural.
By all accounts, locals don't have any gripes with the mural.

By one account, the only gripe was that the artists didn't paint more houses in the neighborhood.

EL Seed said painting the mural changed him for the better.
EL Seed said painting the mural changed him for the better.

"They changed my perception," he said of the people in the neighborhood. "We should still have humility, and this is what brings us together.

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