Signaling the start of our summer sabbatical, K, summons the founders of the first Fikra Graphic Design Biennial from Sharjah (UAE). This upcoming exhibition playfully proposes an expanded notion of the field and its suitable scope, alongside some speculative scenarios for the future. A multi-day workshop in Schöneberg serves to sort out the project’s specifics. Surrounded by the exhibition’s co-curators, Na Kim, Emily Smith, and K,’s Qwerty-qualified quester, P. Krishn, the Emirati ensemble will engage in soul-searching Socratic dialogue to set the stage for November’s show.
Salem Al-[K]assimi is a multidisciplinary graphic designer and entrepreneur. In 2006, he founded Fikra, an award-winning design-led educational platform in Sharjah (UAE), that comprises a coworking space, design studio, café, gallery, and library. He has participated in exhibitions in the UAE and internationally and has published numerous articles, reviews, and essays on Arabic typography, culture, and design. Al-[K]assimi has been featured in Forbes Middle East Magazine as one of “The Leading Young Entrepreneurs in the U.A.E”. He was an Assistant Professor at American University of Sharjah (AUS), College of Architecture, Art, and Design.
Maryam Al [K]assimi is a bilingual Arabic and English graphic designer based in Sharjah (UAE). Her work has been presented in exhibitions across the United Arab Emirates and abroad. She was part of the Campus Art Dubai program, as well as an artist in residence at A.i.R Dubai in 2014 organized by Art Dubai, the Delfina Foundation, Tashkeel, and Dubai Culture. She is a graduate of the American University of Sharjah (AUS) and Principal at Fikra.
The Fikra Graphic Design Biennial centers on graphic design as a practice and discourse, as well as its evolving and broadening nature within local, regional, and international contexts. As a platform for professionals and the general public, it facilitates an environment for exploring innovative and radical ideas in the field. Incorporating exhibitions, workshops, and programs, the Biennial presents the nuances of the discipline, and communicates its significance, varied media, and multiple roles for designers in contemporary culture. The inaugural edition will open in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, in November 2018.