Visual analysis of the exhibition:
After returning from the Riwaq exhibition, and then later visiting the Mathaf one, I became pretty certain that I wanted to have a concept focused around the different styles in which Azzawi portrays human faces—and the concepts behind them.
These are some of the analyses that I did of a few of his works that really caught my eye, they were ‘In the North (Halat Insaniya) series, Jenin, and Bilad Al-Sawad (war cry). It was when writing the 8th point (the emotions and core ideas in the piece) that I got more of a direction. All three were about the dark feelings that war brings with it, and how it reflects in the humans faces.
These insights gave me something to focus on in my visit to Mathaf. When there, I made sure to analyse and capture the faces there—they weren’t as dark, a lot of them, but they were still serious. The descriptions explained how these were his reinterpretations of classic Prose.
I found inspiration in many places, including pinterest and signs around Doha. That specific sign gave me the idea of including something that looked genuine (like the spray paint), in the piece. The sketchy style of the artist shouldn’t be copied using a textured brush tool, for example.
Other visual research solidified the idea that I wanted to include a level of reflection in my work—the exhibit is called ‘Retrospective’, the works reflect Halat Insaniya, and the reflection connects back to one of his larger installations.
Preliminary design ideas (sketches, notes, feedback):
Some initial ideas I had were to to have an accordian piece with reflective panels with outlines of the human condition faces stuck on them; a pop up that opened on two sides (a different pop up for each exhibition); a piece that opened like a box, containing key elements from the artist’s works (eyes, doves, the color green).
The feedback I got was to ditch the pop idea, i agreed, it was my least favourite idea with a very weak concept. With the other two, the box opening concept made sense from the other one, but the reflective masks made sense from the first one. So I had to make an attempt to combine the other two concepts.
My VERY first sketch was looking at the mechanics behind the piece. The production, template of the diecut, would it have a thickness/ rounded edges? I got feedback on the shape of template, the possibility of ‘dog ears’ and the suggestion to link the opening mechanism to what is happening inside.
The other thing I had to think about, was exactly how the reflective cards would be made. I had to research what techniques were available. I came across a couple of links and examples:
Metallic Hot stamping
Reflective Contact Paper
Reflective Foil paper.
Afte reading up on different techniques and experimenting, I knew the possible outcome to keep the vividness of the colours and the reflection was to make it hand-assemble the piece in the post-production line. So:
-The mailer piece would be printed and die-cut (the envelope part)
-The outlines of the mask would be printed on and then die cut to the bleed.
-The reflective masks would be paper that has a flush layer of metallic hot stamping—to ensure that it is smooth—then die cut to the bleed
-THEN manually, in post-production, the diecut outlines of the mask would be stuck on to that reflective foiled paper.
-Once both are stuck together, they would be trimmed to the crop line, to ensure a high quality finish.
Some of my other initial sketches:
Things considered were the type, arrangement of the type, the way it would be distributed and aligned on the pages. Something that took a while was the title of the exhibition. Feedback I eventually got was to make it distinct from the address area, and to keep it minimal, like the rest of the piece.
Creating the Final Prototype:
< experimenting with charcoal and paint, to test which style to scan, and which will look the best next to Azzawi’s work.
Experimenting with different compositions and finalising the ‘mail to:’ section.
^Experimenting with what to prototype on. The plastic tray (left) was too stiff, the glue became messy. The reflective contact paper (right) was closer to how the final one would be assembled, looked cleaner, and was probably closer to how the final would look too.
Using spray glue was necessary, since the die cut outlines were so fine.
Q-Post data analysis:
There were different factors to consider when designing the piece. How thick it would be, how heavy it would be, and what sizes would be plausible.
My mailer piece was very thin and came under the category of being a letter, instead of a parcel, making it cheaper to post.
Finally posting the piece was a very fun experience, mostly because this was the first time in my life that I ever posted anything. Sticking the postage stamps on and popping it through the mail box felt so cool x)
I was very satisfied with the quality of the final prototype. It turned out very close to what I had imagined. People got the concept during the critique, and felt that the Mathaf mask was more successful. The concept being:
The mailer piece encourages people to go to the exhibition with heightened awareness, since it encourages them to reflect on themselves through Azzawi’s work. The focus on the faces is to portray Azzawi’s take on the human state and emotions (even those of fictional people). The concept of showing the existence of two exhibitions is through the orientation of the piece. All the Riwaq information (including the mask) is in portrait, while the Mathaf information is in landscape orientation. The bilingual organization is with english always being at the top, and arabic at the bottom (in the corresponding column).
What didn’t work:
The Bilad Al-sawad face for the Riwaq mask was more unclear, so it seemed that some people couldn’t tell that it was an actual face as well. The back of the masks gives more information about the individual piece for each’s respective exhibition, but it still feels very minimal.
What I want to improve:
I want to consider making the masks postcards, or adding another level of interaction into the masks. I also want to reconsider the shape of the envelope, where it curves into a tab near the eye. The asymmetric shape was meant to connect back to Azzawi’s style, but I don’t think it’s enough.