making your mark

eL Seed painting at the British Library for the exhibition, ‘Writing: Making Your Mark’ 2019

eL Seed painting at the British Library for the exhibition, ‘Writing: Making Your Mark’ 2019

For the current British Library exhibition (showing until August 2019): ‘Writing: Making Your Mark’ – a project spanning 5,000 years, across the globe, and that explores the act of writing, of leaving one’s mark – artist eL Seed created a painting for the exhibition with his distinctive calligraffiti script. 

Language for eL Seed is about identity. Growing up as French-Tunisian, he felt conflicted about who he was and found that Arabic script enabled him to make a connection between his two cultural identities. It’s fascinating that the Arabic alphabet has symbols not present in other languages, which to eL Seed, creates infinite possibilities for expression and connection, especially in relation to his audience. 

Speaking about the project, eL Seed said: “Once a bedouin in South of Tunisia told me, 'The one who doesn't leave a mark, didn't have a life'. I guess this is why I write.” 

The painting for the exhibition features a quote from the Lebanese-American writer, Khalil Gibran, that featured on his grave: “I am alive like you, standing beside you. Close your eyes and you will see me in front of you.’