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French artist Vincent Abadie Hafez (b. 1977) began his artistic career under the pseudonym “Zepha” in the graffiti movement of 1989. Today, his work has evolved into densely patterned murals and canvases steeped in the legacy of ancient calligraphic practices. Recognised as one of the founders of urban calligraphy, Hafez choreographs these large-scale works by interlacing characters of the Arabic and Latin alphabets with virtuoso-like ease. He keeps only the essence of their distinct aesthetics, giving structure to their multiplicity of contrasts while freeing the letters of any symbolism and cultural bearings. The resulting compositions are sensual, rhythmic, unexpected, and create a timeless language enriched with urban context.


Through this urban translation, Hafez adds an ephemeral dimension. His palimpsest artworks invite viewers to scratch off a layer of latex applied over the surface. Wear and tear, degradation, and marks of time inflicted to the artworks echo the artist’s primal practice—graffiti. This intervention alludes to the impact of man on space and time and more widely, the part this plays in the evolution of interpersonal relations in our societies today. It draws on a popular contemporary approach to create an authentic dialogue about preserving ancestral arts (traditional calligraphy, etching, marquetry), the ability to overcome division and our collective future.


A nomadic artist, Hafez has participated in numerous international shows and events including the Concrete Alphabets exhibition in San Francisco commissioned by the artist Poesia, and the Jidar - Toiles de rue Festival in Rabat, where the creation of his mural was a headlining event.

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