THIS MONTH’s ONE TO WATCH: NAda Nada

NADA NADA: DAMIETTA’S FEARLESS FEMALE ARTIST

30th of June 2021.

For this next ‘Boundless’ feature, we are thrilled to be able to introduced to you a brilliant Egyptian contemporary visual artist, based in Cairo, Egypt. Nada Nada was born in the small port city of Damietta, which is a place named after the ancient Egyptian word “Damt” meaning ‘the ability’, and Nada Nada certainly has this in boat loads.

Damietta is where the salt water of the Mediterranean Sea and the fresh water of the Nile meet one place, giving the people and culture here a special sort of creative energy, often famous for interiors and furnishings design. Being based here, and away from the hustle and bustle of Cairo, Nada Nada feels that it has been the best place to give birth to her artistic journey.

Nada Nada fell in love with art since her childhood, even before joining The College of Applied Arts. “ I knew that I have to be an artist, every time I got an idea pop up and a flash in my mind … it drives me crazy until I put it on a paper or a canvas .. then I feel that short moment of passion, hyper pleasure, and ecstasy when the idea is incarnate, in front of me and the painting starts drives me on its own unknown ending journey.”

Nada Nada later specialized in painting and became a much loved independent artist, inspired by human internal conflict, deep thought and personal journeys, “I usually get inspired by the human .. the human being itself and what we go through in terms of conflicts, fears, contradictions and what is going on, in the subconscious … trying to use elements, shapes, relationships and the effect of colours to express my thoughts. Since the beginning of the pandemic, I fell for the self-portrait stage and I get deeply into it because the material of my own self is a malleable material for expressing many things, especially in my personal experience, and now I am trying to explore new stages.”

During this self-portrait phase, Nada Nada has often worried that people may find her work narcissistic, but in fact people do see the depth of her art. One has to face themselves in the mirror each day, and that includes wrestling with emotion and intra-personal struggles. Nada Nada’s work captured this form of self-torture perfectly, and in such a beautiful way.

When asked about the current art scene in Egypt, she was very quick to point out there are so many styles and evolutions happening because Egypt is a melting pot of creativity, giving hope to future generations. However more should be done to support artists, like her, who come from outside of Cairo. “I hope (the art scene) it’s more open for different styles .. more support for young artists specially outside the capital is needed.. Gallery owners, officials and art collectors should be more open and supportive of youths …my advice to young artist’s is to try a lot and work a lot … different styles, different materials .. stay patient .. refine your academic skills and then release them to the vastness of art”

Right now, Nada Nada’s latest work is being are shown in the summer collection at nun art gallery and online at Luxor art gallery. Looking forward, Nada Nada is working to launching some creative workshops which she is looking forward to.

WHERE TO FIND NADA NADA?

Support Nada Nada by following her and keeping updated with her beautiful work on Instagram,

BEHIND BOUNDLESS

‘Boundless’ is a regular editorial by Aywa Kidah, dedicated to raising the profile of creators from North Africa and the Middle East, with the aim of sharing with the world the boundless talent and stories to inspire. Let us know what you think to our ‘Boundless’ features here.


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THIS MONTH’s ONE TO WATCH: HOUDA EZZAKY

HOUDA EZZAKY: AGADIR’S OWN HIDDEN GEM

18th of May 2021.

Our ‘Boundless’ journey takes us further to the ends of Morocco in search of up and coming creators in the region. This is the place where the famous Timitar festival is held, celebrating Amazigh culture and music from around the world, We are talking of course of the proudly Amazigh city of Agadir. Here, lives the amazing artist Houda Ezzaky, or as she is known on instagram, ‘Houda Artholic’. We were lucky enough to stumble on this brilliant work by chance, and boy are we happy we did.

Houda is a graphics student, about to graduate from her infographic studies, however as well as being a graphics designer, she creates these beautiful paintings. Known for her niqab and the urban backdrop of the Moroccan streets, these pieces of art with such contrasting elements, stop anyone scrolling past.

Houda tells us that she constantly pushes her creative talent by experimenting with different mediums and different languages, from painting on paper to painting walls or even shoes, she has proven that there are no bounds to her creativity. She is an advocate for being self taught and being committed to finding one’s unique creative style “My style is a mix of Moroccan culture, modern elements, sometimes a touch of old school, and calligraphy… i’m highly Inspired from the society and Moroccan culture…to be close to what people experience in their life…art is something that everyone can understand and enjoy”

Not only does she look to her culture for inspiration, but she finds architecture and futuristic space design fascinating. Luckily, the creative scene is changing in the Middle East and North Africa, people are becoming more open to their kids following creative career paths, however this is still a point of challenge for many artists. Houda included. “The biggest challenges are family, and friends, because in this society, if you’re not a doctor, or a lawyer, or an engineer, it’s like you’re wasting your time, and they see no future in art, little do they know, that art is the core of everything. It’s not only about drawing pieces and selling them cheap, there are other horizons for those who seek to reach the top”.

We loved Houda’s instagram page as soon as we found it, and were honoured to feature her as our one to watch this month. We love how she represents her art, making it about how her viewers and fans enjoy her creations, taking herself out of the frame with her niqab, while also keeping her faith in the picture. The potential she shines is inspiring. Houda looks to the future and tells us her biggest ambitions are to be a known worldwide designer. Her message for anyone aspiring to become an artist is ” Choose your destination and enjoy the journey, it isn’t all about money but it’s about how you enjoy life doing what you love.”

WHERE TO FIND HOUDA EZZAKY?

Discover her beautiful work on Instagram,

BEHIND BOUNDLESS

‘Boundless’ is a regular editorial by Aywa Kidah, dedicated to raising the profile of creators from North Africa and the Middle East, with the aim of sharing with the world the boundless talent and stories to inspire. Let us know what you think to our ‘Boundless’ features here.


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FLOMINE, UNTAPPED SOUNDS OF CASABLANCA

FLOMINE, UNTAPPED SOUNDS OF CASABLANCA

5th of May 2021.

Growing up in the urban corner of Casablanca in Morocco, FloMine, real name Amine Benjdiya, a creative music producer living in London, has come a long way since the days spent in the desert, but he is full of appreciation and respect for his roots, which is seen through his style and approach to making music. We catch up with FloMine this week in an exclusive interview to bring you his inspirational story and hear about his unique style.

Tell us about your journey FloMaine, how did you get here?

” I was born in Casablanca in a predominantly poor area, the great thing was a sense of community, people had no money but there was integration, sharing of stories, ideas and groups of people coming together sharing laughter, food and creativity.”

“Coming from a difficult background means you gain the type of character to create the best from the little you have. If you can make quality things with nothing you gain real talent and appreciation. I began making music with a group of friends on a second hand borrowed laptop and from there started building my production name. “

“I came to the UK only 6 years ago as a student with the little I had I would buy music gear second hand and resell to gain money to purchase my own equipment. I spent hours, days, weeks and months perfecting my production then moving on to mixing and mastering skills as we could not afford to pay outsiders. I collaborated with international artists, world music musicians, people who played Gnawa music, like the Arfoud Brothers and those who played different African drums and sitar. “

“I wanted to create a sound that reminded me of home but modernised and fused with my love of house music. I opened E11 Studios in 2019, the first Leytonstone professional studio and started to want to build an empire for all creatives.”

Who is your biggest influence ?

“I would say House producers, such as Tchami and Malaa, Don Diablo, all the way to Bob Marley, Quincy Jones and Prince. I am an avid follower of the Moroccan and London music scene, following tand working alongside artists such as DIzzy Dros, Snor, EL Grande ToTo, Small x, Excep, Soufiane AZ.”

How would you describe your style?

“My style changes but mostly comes from growing up in Morocco, travelling to the Middle East and southern Morocco, spending time in the Sahara desert and with musicians who play for love, not fame, success or money. They grow up playing, there’s some precious learning from those who play instruments and sing for political freedom, or pain or sing or play with the spirit and roots of their ancestors. Anything from Gnawaw, Moroccan and BerBer music mixed in with being in London exposed to the house music and drill music scene. My now style incorporates and fuses them all, my motto being ‘No RULES’ “

Your fashion style is reflective of your heritage with a twist, tell us about the look you created and how you made it recognisable to you. 

“I have always been a great followers of fashion and again wanted to keep it traditional with a modern twist, the Fez hat is a very historical and famous style of the Moroccan culture, it was handmade by Jenny from Arfound Brothers and Hassan Hejjaj (Moroccan fashion photographer), it was made with several beads and jewels from both modern moroccan designs and historical berber jewellery. A piece of Moroccan Amazigh (Imazighen) history mixed with modern colours and styles from European and African influences. The clothes were a reflection of my own culture and the music I was making, so wearing the hat helped people to connect FloMine with Morocco and Gnawa sounds then connect to E11 and so on.”

What elements of the Moroccan traditional music do you feel has been the most influential?

” The raw elements of the music has influenced and the realisation that certain sounds and lyrics can liberate people, heal people, bring happiness, motivation or sorrow. Listening to people’s stories through their sound helped to understand that I need to make music that moves and inspires people. “

Who is your favourite traditional musician and why?

“Arfound Brothers – Gnawa Music – Very spirtual musican with a incredible voice and incrediable musicanship, a group with no EGO just creativity very rare breed,”

You have an amazing sample pack of sounds on sale, how did you develop the sounds, what was the process?

“The greatest thing about making my sample packs is the absolute jam sessions that came with this, I bring the artists I usually work with to E11 Studios and we have Moroccan tea, cakes and had a proper jam session, which resulted in creating some amazing sounds, just from vibe-ing and good feelings, that then comes together as a sample pack. All the sounds are played live, original and not because the artists had to do a job, but it came from the freeness of jamming and creating.”

“The vocals on the Gnawa pack have an incredible feeling and probably can never be copied and redone as it was the music and vocal being made in that moment that was captured really creating an individual sound for everyone to benefit from. “

What do you think the future is for the music industry in Morocco following the pandemic? 

“Artists are incredibly supportive of each other in Morocco and are taking things into their own hands, photographers, stylists, influencers, videographers are all working together with singers, rappers to create futuristic, collaborative and cultured music and using online platforms to help it grow. Traditionally Morocco has always been a very live music scene and the profit for creatives is through festivals however the pandemic has forced most people online exploring other ways to find audiences internationally and make music, keeping the independence and success of Moroccan music alive.”

WHERE TO FIND FLOMINE?

FloMine lives in London,UK. Discover his work on Instagram, facebook, Spotify and Youtube. Stream and download FloMine’s latest track ‘Tim’ here.

Buy his exclusive Moroccan & Gnawa music production sample pack here.

BEHIND BOUNDLESS

‘Boundless’ is a regular editorial by Aywa Kidah, dedicated to raising the profile of creators from North Africa and the Middle East, with the aim of sharing with the world the boundless talent and stories to inspire. Let us know what you think to our ‘Boundless’ features here.


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BASHAR SHGLILA, A MOMENT CAPTURED.

BASHAR SHGLILA, A MOMENT CAPTURED.

27th of April 2021.

Hidden away in Libya lives a humble, yet exceptionally talented, photographer by the name of Bashar Shglila. Bashar has traveled far and wide, collecting moments that have won him multiple awards, allowing him to share what inspires him. This week, we caught up with Bashar to find out what makes him tick.

THE START OF THE PASSION

“Photography gave me a different taste of life” claims Bashar when asked about his journey into photography. Having started with a Compact Sony P200 camera back in March 2009, now Bashar regularly participates in exhibitions showcasing his work, along with becoming an established contributor on Getty.com and flickr. His best work shows off the movement and vibrancy of those whom he photographs. His images range from the ends of North Africa in Morocco, capturing scenes like the hustle and bustle of leather dye workers, to the beautiful and calm inside walls of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. 

DEFINING A STYLE

 “I like to photograph the different cultures of people, such as their festivals, costumes and dances” Bashar continues, when discussing the approach in which he takes. Instead of planning out a photoshoot or sketching prior, Bashar likes to capture real people in the moment, “ Most of my photographic work depends on the available event. I don’t plan but I shoot what I see in front of me” 

When asked about advice he would give aspiring photographers, he stressed the importance of online discovery, especially when it comes to photographic skill and art direction. “Create your own style, this will make you compete for real and do not think locally, go direct globally!” which is absolutely the path Bashar has walked, it is no secret that things have been tough in Libya and this was a factor in Bashar’s journey into the creative wild. Bashar remains hopeful – “Because of the war, and the new conditions in Libya, Libya is facing a delay in all creative and artistic aspects. Nevertheless, the situation is relatively good compared to the difficult circumstances” 

HUMANITY < HAPPINESS < HOPE

Bashar admits “Humanity, happiness and hope in human beings” is what inspires him most in his work. He is also has passionate ties to western culture, for example he is a rocker at heart and a huge fan of Pinkfloyd, Rod Stewart, Dire Straits and Oasis. Listening to these legends definitely give Bashar a boost whatever mood he is in.   

We would like to thank Bashar Shglila for making time for comment for this feature.

WHERE TO FIND BASHAR SHGLILA?

Bashar lives in Tripoli, Libya. Discover his work on Instagram, facebook, flickr, and Getty.com.

BEHIND BOUNDLESS

‘Boundless’ is a regular editorial by Aywa Kidah, dedicated to raising the profile of creators from North Africa and the Middle East, with the aim of sharing with the world the boundless talent and stories to inspire. Let us know what you think to our ‘Boundless’ features here.


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