Foundation exploring Arab identity through design
At Design Ignites Change, we aim to support design students to take their creative solutions and turn them into real-world actions and interventions; we are constantly inspired by stories of students that have the initiative and drive to already do this. One of these ambitious students is Hala A. Malak, who developed her project, Kaflab, at the School of Visual Arts and has moved forward with it after graduating to launch the Al-Kafiye Project, which has just announced a call-for-entry competition for its upcoming inaugural exhibition. Kaflab is a foundation Hala co-founded with designer Tarek Atrissi “dedicated to re-define Arab identity though design,” exploring the elements of Arab identity free from religion and opening it up to new possibilities and discourse while not forgetting its rich history. The whole process is an experiment on design and identity that hopes to start a social debate leading to change.
The focus of Al-Kafiye Project is exploring the kafiye (or keffiyeh)—traditional male headwear that has morphed over time to be a powerful Arab symbol and also appropriated into western culture as a gender-neutral fashion statement. Al-Kafiye Project is comprised of several elements—an exhibition, a symposium and a book. A group of Arab visual artists and designers have been invited to participate in the exhibition by submitting a piece that interprets their personal significance of the Kafiye and there is an open call for one more participant. For more information on how to submit, visit the call for entries page on the Kaflab website.
The Al-Kafiye Project is an inspiring beginning to Kaflab and we are excited to see how one student’s vision can become a platform for change and understanding.