Cambridgeshire

Cambridge 'Calligraffiti' mural wins protection until 2020

eL Seed's mural in Arbury Court Image copyright Kettle's Yard
Image caption The mural covers the end of a block of flats in Arbury Court

A "calligraffiti" mural which has attracted visitors to a block of flats in Cambridge will remain in place until at least next year.

The mural was painted by French-Tunisian artist El Seed for the 2018 reopening of the Kettle's Yard gallery.

But a positive reception means its initial three-month stay at Arbury Court has been extended to May 2020.

The artist said painting in a public space was a way of "democratising art" and showing culture was for all.

Image copyright Kettle's Yard
Image caption The mural will remain until May 2020 at least

Susie Biller, of Kettle's Yard, said the mural had been popular with younger people - including students at neighbouring North Cambridge Academy - and had drawn new visitors.

"El Seed has a big following, and we were slightly surprised to find that some people who following his work around came to see it here," she said.

Image copyright Christina Dimitrova
Image caption El Seed's style has been described as "calligraffiti", blending Arabic calligraphy and graffiti

El Seed developed the Arbury Court design - in his style which blends calligraphy with graffiti - with people living in the area.

It took four days to paint and has been given a protective coating since Cambridge City Council granted permission for it to remain.

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Media captionEl Seed sees his work as part of a push for social tolerance
Image copyright El Seed Studio
Image caption El Seed's commission at the Dubai Opera

El Seed's large installations have appeared worldwide in cities including Cairo, Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, Paris and New York.

He began his career by spray-painting walls on the streets of Paris, and sees his work as part of a push for social tolerance.

Image copyright Ouahid BERREHOUMA
Image caption This mural in Tunisia was part of El Seed's 'Lost Walls' project

He said he had been taken aback at the "amazing response" from the community in Cambridge.

"The fact that the works are ephemeral makes them even more memorable and there is a beauty in the fact that it remains in people's memories," he said.

An exhibition of El Seed's work, Tabula Rasa, will go on display at the Lazinc gallery in London from 25 January to 9 March.

Image copyright Mahdi KHMILI #BEBTOUNES
Image caption This huge mural over dozens of buildings in Cairo was called Perceptions

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