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Post-Migratory Cultures in Postcolonial France$
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Kathryn Kleppinger and Laura Reeck

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781786941138

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781786941138.001.0001

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Identity and ‘Difference’ in French Art: El Seed’s Calligraffiti from Street to Web

Identity and ‘Difference’ in French Art: El Seed’s Calligraffiti from Street to Web

(p.239) Identity and ‘Difference’ in French Art: El Seed’s Calligraffiti from Street to Web
Post-Migratory Cultures in Postcolonial France

Siobhán Shilton

Liverpool University Press

The attempts to ban the burkini on numerous beaches in the summer of 2016 highlight the extent of fears of visual signifiers of Arabo-Muslim ‘difference’ in public spaces in France. Given these anxieties, the positive reception of El Seed’s ‘calligraffiti’ – combining graffiti and Arabic calligraphy – in Paris might seem surprising. Focusing on El Seed’s work, this chapter asks how art can encourage dialogue and tolerance between cultures and communities in local – particularly Parisian – contexts and in a globalised frame. How does El Seed bring Arabic writing, a visual signifier of ‘difference’, into the public spaces of the French capital? How does he use public sites within and beyond France? How does the digital online presence of his multi-sited ephemeral work signal new means of evoking cultural identity and of interpolating diversely located spectators?

Keywords:   El Seed, graffiti, Arabic calligraphy, digital video, online, identity, France, Maghreb

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