Zainab Al Shibani
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 Aisha Al-Sowaidi's pick!
The Talking Letters
In the words of the Islamic Poet Mirza Ghalib, “every letter has a paper shirt”. The Talking Letters explores the potential outcomes of Arabic lettering through inquiries into the latent meanings, future forms, and local practices in order to create representations of the versatility and expressive nature of the script. From the Turkish prophetic tradition “trust in the waws (و)” to the mystical studies of the letters, this project aims to explore the multi-faceted dimensions of the Arabic script.
Aisha Nasser Al Sowaidi is a multidisciplinary designer based in Doha, Qatar. Her designs are an expression of a local designer towards the fast developing Qatar. Her work incorporates old experiences and behaviors with contemporary design in objects used within the house to maintain the feeling of being home. Her work also brings the modern city closer to the home through the use of materials inspired by the city. Her designs deal with memory, nostalgia, and traces of time. She holds an MFA in Design Studies and a BA in Graphic Design. Aisha has been working at Qatar Museums since 2016, she is currently the Director of Liwan, design studios and labs, another new project under Qatar Museums focusing on design and the creative industries.
About the Selected Project: 'The Talking Letters'
The Graphic Design at VCUarts Qatar plays a dynamic role in the region through education and research focused on cultural production, social innovation, and the preservation and development of typographic cultural heritage. Our graduates have collaborated and explored a range of tools, materials and modes of making to develop extra-disciplinary creative practices capable of reimagining design’s role in society.
We are proud to introduce to you the class of 2021: a group of empowered creative citizens, cultural participants and radical forces who will creatively impact our world.
Deema Al Shafi
Maryam Nasser AlMuftah
Roudha Al Suwaidi
Zainab Al Shibani
Astrid Kensinger, Chair
Maryam Al-Homaid, Law Alsobrook, Denielle Emans, Basma Hamdy, Levi Hammett, Michael Hersrud, Leland Hill and Peter Martin
A few words
The Graphic Design BFA class of 2021 are a phenomenal group of young women. We watched them grow and develop over the years into articulate, driven and radical seniors. They have each created a unique thesis project that bridges their interests and passions with the discipline and practice of Graphic Design and we are so proud of their achievements.
Among this year’s graduates is Zainab Al Shibani who has always been outstanding in her commitment to and connection with the program. Her passion and love for Arabic Typography and visual culture is evident in her resourcefulness and resilience in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic where she created ‘Home Screen’ a project to fulfill her Honors Experiential Learning requirement, which involved the conversion of a family majlis into a screen printing studio.
Her thesis project explored her ambition and dedication to advance Arabic typographical form by highlighting latent meanings, proposing future forms, and celebrating local practices to promote the versatility and expressive nature of the Arabic script. Her work highlights both the significance of cultural preservation and the need for design evolution in the region. We are grateful to Aisha Al-Sowaidi for recognizing and selecting her work.