Cairo mural covers 50 buildings

Tunisian street artist creates giant mural in Cairo slum.

The well-known French-Tunisian street artist eL Seed has created a gigantic mural covering 50 buildings in Cairo's Manshiyat Naser district, a disadvantaged area known disparagingly as Garbage City.

The anamorphic mural, titled Perception, can only be viewed in its totality from a certain point on Mokattam Mountain, part of a low range of hills towards the edge of the southeastern suburb.

The mural is designed around the words of St Athanasius of Alexandria, a third-century Coptic bishop who said: "Anyone who wants to see the sunlight clearly needs to wipe his eye first." The mural by the Paris-born artist incorporates traditional Arabic calligraphy, part of his trademark style he calls "calligraffiti."

The Manshiyat Naser area houses the Zabaleen, a Coptic community known for informally managing Cairo's refuse, a stereotype that eL Seed wished to challenge. The artist posted on social media that the Zabaleen "don’t live in the garbage but from the garbage; and not their garbage, but the garbage of the whole city.”

The Christian Zabaleen collect rubbish from across the capital, sorting through it in their own neighbourhood, providing Cairo with an unofficial refuse collection and recycling service. The salvagable materials are resold while organic waste is fed to the community's pigs.

The Guardian reports that they collect some 9,000 tons of refuse per day, almost two-thirds of the rubbish generated by Cairo residents.

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