Where: Dubai Opera Gardens
When: March 28th, 2018 - now
The culmination of two years of work, ‘Declaration’ is eL Seed’s most ambitious sculptural work to date. A renowned calligrapher and street artist, eL Seed ventured into the world of sculpture during a year-long residency at Tashkeel art centre in 2013. Soon afterwards, he was approached by Emaar to develop an impactful and iconic public art commission for the then unbuilt Dubai Opera.
Protruding from the walls of the Dubai Opera Gardens, the work quotes a line from a poem by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum:
“Art in all its colours and types reflects the culture of the nations, their history and civilization.”
To this multicultural and multifaceted artist, this statement is a visceral reality. The spiraling pink form hides a personal significance. The artist states: “It is important for me to keep my culture and the Arab language alive through my art. I carry a tradition and I want to inspire younger generations to love who they are and where they are from.”
eL Seed describes the work as “a declaration of love to the city that I call home,” and to Arab calligraphy.
From beginning to end the work took two years to complete and required the help of 31 craftsmen. ‘Declaration’ consists of intricately shaped steel forms, undulating in and out of the wall, spelling out the Arabic phrase over a span of 30 meters. The form is painted in an eye-catching electric pink.
‘Declaration’ is the eL Seed's first work of this scale to be placed in a public space. As such, it was significant for the artist that this take place in the UAE, an Arab country; supporting the burgeoning scene of the city where the artist makes his home.
About the artist:
Born in Paris in 1981, eL Seed's intricate compositions call not only on the words and their meaning but also on their movement, which ultimately lures the viewer into a different state of mind. Working primarily with subjects that seem contradictory, eL Seed's art reflects the reality of mankind and the world we live in today. eL Seed has installed his work on public spaces, galleries and institutions on every continent. From the streets of Paris or New York, to the Favelas of Rio di Janeiro or the slums of Cape Town, his contemporary approach aims to bring people, cultures and generations together.
In 2017, eL Seed won the UNESCO Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture. He was named a Global Thinker in 2016 by Foreign Policy for his project ‘Perception’ in Cairo. In 2015, the international organization TED recognized him as one of the year’s Fellows for advocating peaceful expression and social progress through his work.