However, Zaria's public perception in recent years has been dominated by the political tensions in northern Nigeria and the violent and destructive movements in the region, notably Boko Haram. The citizens of Zaira regret that this has led to the recognition of their rich and peaceful culture being forgotten and to a dwindling awareness of their progressive and open-minded society.
For this reason, the New Patrons of Zaria would like to commission a work of art that is capable of underlining Zaria's modern identity at the beginning of the 21st century with a progressive symbol.
The most significant and visible manifestation of Zaria's culture are the ornamental facades and interiors in the old town. Highly qualified artists and craftsmen have created magnificent wall reliefs over the centuries. Famous are the eight city gates, some of which are particularly richly decorated.
The commissioning group proposes to make one of these historic gates available for a redesign by a contemporary artist.
After research, the mediator Mahammodu Yahaya, whose family is themselves from the region, proposes the French artist Jules Dedet Granel aka L'Atlas. He has studied calligraphy in various countries and cultures and has thus found his own written form, which finds expression above all in public spaces. He became known as a street artist for his painted facades and monumental performances, which he often realizes in historical places.