Sharjah-based Fikra launches first graphic design biennial in the Middle East

Sharjah-based Fikra launches first graphic design biennial in the Middle East

Fikra Design, Fikra Graphic Design Biennial, Graphic design, UAE

Sharjah-based educational platform, Fikra, has announced the launch of Fika Graphic Design Biennial which will question the role of graphic design as a discipline and as an “integral part of contemporary civic life”.

The event is the first of its kind in the Middle East, and will take place in November 2018, targeting an international audience and participation, with international and local designers developing and exhibiting works in the UAE.

Curated by international designers Prem Krishnamurthy, Emily Smith, and Na Kim, the biennial will focus on graphic design in its various forms and functions: as a profession and practice, as well as its evolution and importance.

The Fika Graphic Design Biennial team consists of director, Salem Al Qassimi, founder and principal of Fikra, and co-director Maryam Al Qassimi. Other members include Eleonora Cervellera, head of programming and partnerships, as well as an advisory committee of regional experts such as Dr. Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFares and Pascal Zoghbi.

Salem Al Qassimi, founder and principal of Fikra

“The event aims to communicate the importance of graphic design as a practice and helps understand it better. More importantly, I think that it is crucial to have a representation of this region in the discourse related to graphic design practice across the globe. It is equally important for us to carry forward our ideas, culture, and narrative,” said Salem Al Qassimi.

The curators added that the graphic design biennial looks at the field as an “integral part of contemporary life.”

“Although it forms nearly every medium, message, and communication we encounter, graphic design is often overlooked as the mere commercial production of visual surfaces for existing ideas,” they said.

“The Biennial looks at the expanded field of graphic design, in which designers play a crucial role in tasks as diverse as entrepreneurial development, content generation, image-making, strategic thinking, form-giving, project distribution, life-cycle planning, and policy creation. Today’s graphic designers are both artists and facilitators: through their sustained presence, expertise, intuition, and insight, they help to shape products and processes alike.”

The Fikra Graphic Design Biennial will take place in November 2018 and will be held across several locations in the UAE.

Feature image: curators of the Fikra Graphic Design Biennial 

Fikra Design curated the UAE pavilion for the 2016 Abwab project as part of Dubai Design Week. The team’s pavilion explored the cultural and social elements of UAE’s ubiquitous cafeteria culture.


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