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DISCOVER THE COLOURFUL DOODLES OF SAUDI

Al Qatt Al Asiri

Branded Partnership _ DIVAZ x MAMZI 

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear flower crowns and colorful doodles? Probably not Saudi Arabia. But long before boho fashion became a thing and flower headpieces and colorful wall art were instagram-worthy, Asir took the lead almost 2,000 years ago. Set in the south-west of Saudi Arabia on the border with Yemen, the Asir region is one that’s full of culture that has colors and a keen eye to details in everything at its center.

The houses of Asir are richly decorated by the women through the cultural art of “Al-Qatt Al-Asiri,” an interior wall decoration, traditionally practiced exclusively by women, that was added to the UNESCO list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2017. The spontaneous art starts with a white background. Then, a wide range of vibrant colors and geometric shapes are brought in to complete the masterpiece and women often invite female relatives and members of their community to help them, establishing the practice as a bonding and unifying experience for them. DIVAZ partnered with "Mariam Abdelghany", owner and designer of the Egyptian label "Mamzi," to delve into her inspiration by Al-Qatt Al-Asiri, how she decided to build her collection based on it, and all about the journey of that collection, the bittersweet and the joyful.

Shot on Location:

Asir, Saudi Arabia.

Cairo, Egypt

Credits:

Production                      DIVAZ OF ARABIA
Strategy                          Temple Artists
Creative Director            Ämr Ezzeldinn
Art Director                     Ali Kiblawi
Cinematography Saudi  Abdullah Al-Hazzaa
Cinematography Egypt  Muhammad Gamal Eldin
Photographer                 Norah Al Amri
Post                                Hue
Stylist                              Latifa bint Saad
Make Up                        Yasmin Istanbouli 
Model                             Asmaa
Producer                        Mustafa Alamasi

Article                          Aya Nassar

How did your journey with this collection start?

My inspiration started when I was attending an event in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for creative women in the region and I saw an old lady from Asiri region hand painting the Asiri art on a canvas and from that moment I got hooked. I took a video and picture and when I came back home I started researching about it, but I knew right away that this was going to become a collection one day. It took me almost two years to execute the collection in a way that I saw fit for my brand and one that would do the inspiration justice as well.

What was the greatest challenge in the making of this collection?

The greatest challenge was the authenticity of the art. It is not easy to take something that is that authentic and try to interpret it differently and make it in a way my own. Trying to do it justice was always in the back of my mind. That's why it took me so long to launch the collection and execute it and also due to the handmade pieces and creation of fabrics. I wanted to create modern, wearable pieces but at the same time have a touch of authenticity.

Al-Qatt Al-Asirii is a huge difference from your signature, timeless and neutral pieces. Were you afraid that this might be an issue at first or did you know how this art would fit into yours from the start?

Actually, I was super scared from this point exactly. However, this is the most fun thing about what I do and about my brand. Since I started my brand, I took an oath with myself that I will never limit my imagination and my creativity. I believe that fashion is art and I wanted to create wearable, yet modern art. I always keep looking for new inspirations that challenge me and challenge my creativity. That's why since I saw Al-Qatt art I got hooked. The hardest thing about it was getting out of my comfort zone with the multi-colors, patterns, and shapes that were so different from what I did which scared me but I also wanted to do something different and interpret it in my own way, simplifying and modernizing it. This is how I usually design anything from any inspiration.

As a representative and strong supporter of women, and as a Middle Eastern woman, how do you think this project emphasizes the unity of women and captures their character?

Women are always the strength and soul of any community; they are the real educators. This project and this art weren’t going to exist if it’s not for the Women of the Asir Region, they are the artists of this area and the amazing thing is you can see how they can collaborate to create beautiful patterns out of colors to decorate their houses.

 

If you were to create an advanced moodboard for this collection that people experience before seeing it to feel its essence and you can do it with only: a place, an object, a smell or a sound, which and what would it be?

I would give them crayons because colors are the essence of this collection. The happiness that people get from seeing colors would be what I want them to experience as that's what I felt while creating it as well. This collection made me play a lot with colors and they always bring some kind of happiness along.

 

Describe the collection in 5 words.

Genuine, Authentic, Modern, colorful, Limited

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