Tasmeem, an annual graphic design and poster exhibition hosted by ICD Brookfield Place Arts, has firmly established itself as a celebrated event that nurtures artistic talent and fosters inclusivity. Through collaborations with a young curator, Tasmeem opens its call for submissions to a diverse range of designers, including those from universities, design studios, and creative institutions. The exhibition carefully selects artworks through a meticulous evaluation process led by a selection committee, showcasing a curated collection that aligns with the annual theme. In an exclusive interview with Malak Abu Qaoud, Arts & Events Manager of ICD Brookfield Place Arts, we gain deeper insights into the significance of the event and its commitment to pushing the boundaries of graphic art.

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Malak Abu Qaoud, Arts & Events Manager of ICD Brookfield Place Arts Image Credit: Tasmeem

Tasmeem challenges conventional notions of graphic art and design, encouraging artists to reimagine their creative processes. According to Malak Abu Qaoud, Arts & Events Manager of ICD Brookfield Place Arts,, the concept of "De-sign Scrapyard" emerged as an objective to emphasize continuity, storytelling, and imaginative transformations. This year, Tasmeem collaborated with Mariam AlZayani, a young writer and graphic designer, who strongly advocated for the concept, drawing from her own experiences of repurposing design remnants.

The selected designers participating in Tasmeem's "De-sign Scrapyard" exhibition infuse new life into their former designs, creating fresh meanings and narratives. By providing their "starting point," the initial fragment that influenced their design process, these artists allow viewers to trace the transformation of their artwork. Through extensive experimentation and unconventional approaches, the designers redefine repurposed work, transcending typographic conventions and incorporating mixed media elements. As Abu Qaoud explains, "These artworks infuse fresh significance into the act of revisiting unfinished work, offering their unique interpretations of how it can be reimagined."

The selection committee plays a crucial role in ensuring the success of Tasmeem's exhibition. Comprised of experts and professionals in the creative field, the committee evaluates each artwork based on its visual appeal and alignment with the annual theme. After a thorough review, the curator makes the final decision on the winners, providing deserving artists with increased visibility and recognition.

Each year, Tasmeem unveils a collection of artworks reflecting a diverse range of themes and styles. Abu Qaoud notes, "This year, it was fascinating to witness the submissions where the final artwork was a reflection of their original starting point. It led to a reimagining of the initial concept, highlighting the power in revisiting unfinished work while infusing new life into it."

Tasmeem serves as a vital platform for young designers and artists, empowering them to exhibit their work in a non-traditional setting. Through collaborations with industry experts and the selection committee, Tasmeem establishes partnerships aimed at amplifying the artists' work and providing future opportunities within the creative community. Engaging talks, workshops, and collaborations with galleries foster connections and collaborations among artists. Abu Qaoud emphasizes, "Ultimately, we hope to have a meaningful impact on the artists and audience by provoking dialogue, inspiring social change, and providing future opportunities."

Tasmeem submissions have showcased a profound connection to the Arabic script. According to selection committee member Imad Gebrayel, there is now less fear and more experimentation with the Arabic script, as artists claim agency over its visual and semiotic connotations. This trend highlights the evolving nature of Arabic script and its significance in contemporary graphic design, positioning it within the modern world.

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The winning poster exhibited at the annual event Image Credit: Tasmeem

By promoting a better understanding of graphic, type, and poster design, Tasmeem contributes to the legacy of these art forms across the region. Abu Qaoud emphasizes, "We created Tasmeem to foster conversation and create important dialogues that impact social change by establishing a dynamic and inclusive space."

Looking ahead, Tasmeem aims to expand beyond the annual exhibition. The team is committed to expanding educational and outreach initiatives, providing accessible and engaging programs to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of graphic art's cultural and historical significance. Abu Qaoud provides a glimpse into the future, stating, "Our focus will extend beyond the annual exhibition, embracing experimentation and pushing boundaries. We aspire to inspire creativity in artists and our audience through a wider range of mediums and performative artwork."

Tasmeem stands at the forefront of the graphic art industry, fostering creativity and inclusivity. With a commitment to nurturing talent, challenging conventions, and inspiring social change, Tasmeem empowers emerging and established artists. Through its annual exhibition and expanded initiatives, Tasmeem aims to create a lasting legacy, contributing to the cultural and historical significance of graphic art across the region.