Exploring 'Belonging': AUC Graduate's Poster Recognized Among Top in Arab World
Inspired by his longing for home and a question about what it means to 'belong,' Hossam Harfoush '19 created Homeland, an Arabic typography poster that was selected among the Hundred Best Arabic Posters of 2020.
"Homeland, for me, is a visual representation of the many skeptical thoughts that were floating inside my head toward the concept of belonging during my semester abroad in the United States," said Harfoush, a Tomorrow's Leaders Scholarship recipient. "I was homesick, and I wanted to express through typography and design a personal issue that I have been facing. It basically shows the stages of demolishing the feeling of home, being comfortable or feeling 'right' at my own physical home or room."
Harfoush graduated from AUC's graphic design program and is now a graphic designer at the Saudi firm MHG. He also freelances and manages two startups — Bad Trip, an art shop, and Design Label, a design studio, with his partners. An award-winning designer, Harfoush describes himself as self-taught and multidisciplinary. His dreams of becoming a graphic designer started when he was a kid, and he debuted his career at the age of 14.
He started working on Homeland in 2018 and found beauty in Arabic typographic elements when designing it, specifically the Thuluth element. The poster also contains the quote "I'm looking for a comfortable bedroom" in different languages, as he aimed to empathize with people of different cultures and backgrounds.
"It is all about my experiences, as I never settle down at any place," he said. "I'm always on the go, here and there. As a result, the feeling of non-belonging has always been chasing me."
"Homeland was first on display in Dubai as part of the Huroof, Graphic Design from the Middle East: Explorations in Contemporary Typography exhibition. Now that it has been recognized as one of the top 100 Arab posters and will be exhibited in Warehouse421 in Abu Dhabi, UAE until May 8 and in the Ter Dilft in Bornem, Belgium from February 11 until March 14.
"Having this poster exhibited in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Bornem is definitely a big thing for me. I'm so glad this has happened, and, of course, I'd love to see it exhibited in many cities around the world. I believe I'm not the only person facing such an issue. It certainly is a pleasure seeing this happening as I'm still at a young age. I am still learning from all the great people I get in contact with, and I think the best is yet to come."