Noof Alkhenji &
We asked special guests to choose a student whose work must be highlighted, whose talents they want to share with the world and whose names we’ll all soon know in Qatar.
Discover curator and designer Bahia Shehab's pick!
The Abaya is an ancient garment that goes back thousands of years. The main purpose of the Abaya today is for a woman to protect herself from both unwanted attention and also for religious and cultural respect. While the black Abaya has been worn in Muslim countries for many generations, recently more and more colors have been introduced which some people are still not familiar with or even comfortable with.
Using data collected from surveys and questionnaires from people in both the university and the general public, Colors Speak culminates in a regionally specific collection of newly named color swatches for the Abaya. This project rebrands color while highlighting and celebrating the growing range of the available Abaya. The goal of this research is to decode and identify the emotional meaning of the Abaya wearer in public. The Abaya Color Swatches give meaning and serve as a guide to understanding Qatari women and the daily choices we face in public.
Our Life is a Game حياتنا لعبة
Our Life is a Game responds to the role of women in Qatari society, asking how design and design activism — particularly through humour and play — can bring to light delicate and difficult topics to trigger insight and societal reflection. Societies around the world have viewed women as something inferior on and off again for millennia. Today, not only specific cultural traditions but also contemporary global media continue to perpetuate gender stereotypes without understanding women and their feelings within specific contexts. By exploring the power of games and dark humour within design, I aim to shed light on the role of the female in society—highlighting the marital traditions and daily life tasks—from a Qatari woman’s perspective. Our Life is a Game hopes to focus, question, and make the role of chance in the life of Qatari women visible through sarcasm and dark humour.
Bahia Shehab is an artist and author based in Cairo. She is Professor of design and founder of the graphic design program at The American University in Cairo. Her work has been exhibited internationally and has received a number of international awards including the BBC’s 100 women’s list, a TED Senior Fellowship, a Prince Claus Award, and the UNESCO-Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture. She is the founding director of TypeLab@AUC. Her latest publications include You Can Crush the Flowers: A Visual Memoir of the Egyptian Revolution and the award winning co-authored book A History of Arab Graphic Design.
About the Selected Projects: 'Color Speak' and Our Life is a Game
Our Life is a Game criticizes how society perceives marriage and women in Qatari society. In her witty display, women become labelled wooden toys devoid of life or choice. Her presentation of such a complex social system in a humorous and lighthearted, but at the same time very insightful way, reveals how some women are objectified and commodified like the toys she represented. Her project is critical of the lack of freedom of choosing a life and love partner and how society labels women based on their external looks, their age, their social background but not on who they are as humans.
Both projects highlight women’s rights and freedom in choosing what fits them as individuals. Whether it is as simple as choosing the color of the dress you want to wear or as complex as choosing your life partner.
We are proud to introduce to you the class of 2022: a group of empowered creative citizens, cultural participants and radical forces who will creatively impact our world.
Abdul Rahman Hatib
Mashael Al Baker
Noor Abdulrazzaq Abdulwahab Razan Mustafa
Astrid Kensinger, Chair
Maryam Al-Homaid, Law Alsobrook, Denielle Emans, Basma Hamdy, Levi Hammett, Michael Hersrud, Leland Hill and Peter Martin
Adjunct Faculty: Pornprapha Phantanteacha, Mariam Rafehi and Bahia Shehab
Astrid Kesinger, Department Chair
The RAW Talent