ARAFA C. HAMADI (TZA, 1995)
Residency period: May – July 2022
During their residency, Arafa C. Hamadi worked on their project ALTAR, an abstraction of several places, cultures and encounters, whose spatial arrangement derived from the study of labyrinths and fractals in East African ornaments and hairstyles. Arafa C. Hamadi explained, “my intention for the residency was to explore labyrinth design and its history, however I found that a lot of the reading I was doing was around European labyrinth design.” They then proceeded to research African design aesthetics and were inspired by “Ron Engel’s work identifying various applications of fractal designs throughout African urban and textile design history”. (1)
Arafa C. Hamadi also explored queer spaces in Switzerland, such as the ballroom community in Lausanne, which led them to question the architecture of a safer space. A reflexion that was incorporated to their “meditative pattern drawing”.
Arafa C. Hamadi is a multidisciplinary visual and installation artist, working in the fields of graphic and set design. They graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2017 with a Master of Arts with Honours in Architecture and are currently working between Kenya and Tanzania. They work as an artist and art director, as well as graphic and creative advisor for the Mawazo Institute in Kenya, a female-led African organisation supporting early-career women researchers.
As an artist, Hamadi creates artworks in various mediums incorporating both physical and digital practices to create hybrid and multi-sensory installations, festival sets and, most recently, 3D digital worlds. Thematically, their work addresses their queer identity and the decontextualised self. They have featured in exhibitions in Mozambique, Tanzania, the USA and online.