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Friedrich Ebert Stiftung

2020, Illustrations

In the wake of 2020’s widespread political and social discourse, the topic of racial injustices had only just started to be discussed in the Middle East. Friedrich Ebert Stiftung added to this discourse with a series of blog posts published on their website about two important racial topics: the first being Migrant domestic workers and the Kafala system, and the second under the title of Being “Black” in the MENA region. Each illustration had been commissioned for its respective blog post.

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Color palette


The first step taken in conceptualizing these illustrations was to identify a visual style that was close to Friedrich Ebert Stiftung’s branding while steering away from the popular trend of flat human drawings, which could only serve to minimize racial minorities in illustration. The color palette was focused on celebrating a variety of skin tones, with a few feature colors mixed in.

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Mood board for "Kafala" article

In the second step, research on the topics at hand was a crucial part of putting together the mood-boards that would then shape the final illustrations. The imagery of passports being stripped away from foreign workers and domestic help protesting for their rights were a major feature in the symbolism for the “Kafala” illustration. In the second illustration, “Being Black in the Middle East,” the idea was to celebrate Afro-Arab culture in all of its beauty.

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Mood board for "Being Black in the Middle East"

The articles can be read here and here.