Ghada Wali is the youngest TED female speaker representing the MENA region and the first Arab designer to speak at the Parisian UNESCO headquarters, on the celebration of the World Arabic Language Day. Wali made it to Forbes Europe’s List 2017 as the first Egyptian woman in the Arts & Immigrants category, as well as OKAY AFRICA-100 WOMEN list 2018. With a complex education at home, then in Florence and beyond, Ghada faced the world of cliches related to the MiddleEast attributes in the West and decided to challenge them as only visionary creatives could do: in a playful, meaningful, both universal and local vocabulary. The multiple-award-winning designer developed an Arabic typeface through lego-pieces, which projected her among “The best 100 graphic design pieces in the world” by the Society of Typographic Arts in Chicago. Awarded by the president in the context of World Youth Forum, she became an ambassador for the Graphic Design/Visual Communication disciplines and their society impact. Through contemporary design, reclaimed history or place branding, she aims to make a statement about her Egyptian and Middle Eastern identity at world scale, challenge and change perceptions, touch people’s hearts and generate a mentality shift.
WHAT WOULD MAKE YOUR SOUL SING? WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?
Creating meaningful impact. The role of design in fostering cultures and finding innovative ways to preserve history is vital. My objective is to provide a fresh outlook on history’s treasures with a contemporary approach while celebrating a country’s history. I want to create a visual revolution in Egypt and the Middle East, I want to spread Graphic Design education and increase awareness of its necessity in our daily lives. I hope that one day I can be responsible for implementing Graphic Design in Education, Health, Politics and any fields where it can contribute to promoting and reviving my country and the whole region. My heart is my compass. I work with my full heart and emotion, and I believe that it reaches the cores of people wherever they come from when it is true and genuine. One who doesn’t have a history, does not have a future. I create work that is relevant to who I am and where I come from. I have gained global recognition on the works that specifically celebrate my identity. My aim is to encompass the Arab & Egyptian flavor by portraying my work on the global trends map.
A CHILDHOOD STORY THAT ANNOUNCED THE CREATIVE PERSON YOU ARE TODAY
When I was a 2-year-old coloring an elephant in 1000 colored dots.
BEST CONTEXT EVER FOR INSPIRATION
Living in Florence, Italy.
THE PROJECT YOU LOVED MOST
I consider all of my projects as my offspring! But I could say I enjoyed :
7up Celebrating Egypt Limited Edition Collection
The whole idea was to document and innovate the Timeline of the Chronological Graphical Evolution of Egyptian Visual Culture. Each can holds a different time era and illustration technique. Also each can represents both an Egyptian factor and a brand persona.
Branding Egypt Initiative
Branding my home country has been my lifetime dream – to create a full visual identity of the 29 largest cities in Egypt. In 2018, we presented our full plan to the youth of Egypt during a youth conference in the presence of the President of Egypt. The President instantly approved the initiative and it was adopted and launched following the first prototype ‘Branding Luxor’.
THE PROJECT OTHERS LOVED MOST
Definitely “Let’s Play – Innovating the Arabic Learning Experience through Lego”.
THE BEST THING ABOUT EGYPTIAN CREATIVITY
Beautiful Spontaneous Chaos.
BEST STATEMENT OF EGYPTIAN HUMOR
It is actually wise too!
الباب اللي يجيلك منه الريح سده واستريح
The door that brings wind, shut it and unwind. If it can cause trouble, get rid of it altogether.
ADVICE FOR INTERNATIONAL HEADHUNTERS, RELATED TO EGYPTIAN CREATIVES
You are about to change your idea of creativity. A true manifestation of lateral thinkers. A mix of ancient mythology combined with kitsch culture mixed with humor wrapped up with spontaneity.
BEST PLACE IN CAIRO
Downtown and anywhere along the Nile.
BEST PLACE IN EGYPT
I have two favorites: Blue Lagoon, Sinai & Heissa Island, Nubia, Aswan.
MOST DISTURBING CLICHÉ ABOUT EGYPT, IN THE MEDIA OUTLETS OF THE WORLD
Veiled women, commuting to work by camels, unsafe.
EGYPT SHOULD BE KNOWN FOR
People + emotion + culture + history + art + music + adventure + diversity + heritage + magic
YOUR VIEWS ON SPIRITUALITY
I am a natural Sufi. I believe in God and everything else as his embodiment.
YOUR VIEWS ON MONEY
A tool for experiences.
AN INSPIRATION SOURCE YOU RECOMMEND FOR A YOUNG CREATIVE
AN EGYPT BASED FEMALE TALENT THAT DESERVES TO BE PROMOTED AT INTERNATIONAL LEVEL, AS EXPONENT OF LOCAL CREATIVE SPIRIT
Farah Wali, founder of Maison Farah Wali, aims to customize and personalize the clothes to customers in order to showcase the uniqueness of each individual, with an aspiration to bring the Egyptian heritage back in fashion, embodying how Fashion Design directly influences our mindset, daily routine, and even inspirations.
More about Ghada Wali:
In 2018, she was selected within the top 50 most influential women in Egypt. Her work has been featured in art exhibits around the world and showcased in various articles internationally: the World Economic Forum, Quartz Africa, Wired Italia & Japan, Slanted Berlin among them. She was the only woman selected to represent the youth of Egypt at the opening of the World Youth Forum.