Assil Diab, an alumna of Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar), was recently honoured by the university’s home campus with a 10 Under 10 award for her graffiti artivism in her home country Sudan. Diab studied Graphic Design at VCUarts Qatar.  

The ‘10 under 10’ award recognises the noteworthy and distinctive achievements made by alumni who earned their first VCU degree (undergraduate, graduate or professional) within the past 10 years. This year’s ‘10 Under 10’ honorees were recognised in an in-person event held in Richmond.

Be it in Qatar, Sudan, or elsewhere in the world, Diab says her art aims to relate to people from all walks of life – irrespective of their age, nationality, profession, culture, social standing or gender.

I use my art to capture their contexts and their emotions, and at times, to add a bit of colour to their lives.

Diab initially attended VCUarts Qatar before transferring to VCU in Richmond, where she focused on Graphics Design. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in May 2011 while finishing university in the United States.

Diab, currently alternating between Qatar and Sudan, is a full-time freelance designer and a graffiti artist. In 2012, she collaborated with French-Tunisian artist El Seed for a calligraffiti project, for which she helped paint 52 panels in four road tunnels along Doha’s Salwa Road.

The Bucharest-born Sudanese artist has also worked in various creative capacities in Qatar for companies and organisations including Al Jazeera Children’s Channel, the Marriott Marquis, Cirque Eloize, Aspire, Qatar Red Crescent, Supreme Council of Family Affairs, the Qatar Olympic Committee (Q22), Doha Film Institute, Red Bull, Qatar Racing Club, Purple Falcon Multimedia, 60 Degrees and SDI Marketing.

Diab was also part of a delegation from Qatar Charity who visited the Rohingya refugee camps in 2018. The visit was aimed at alleviating the suffering of orphans and refugees with a number of relief aid programmes and recreational and livelihood activities.

As an artist, I was responsible for adding colour to the spaces where they lived and interacted in the camps.

As part of the delegation, she met several Rohingya refugees, including orphans, and came to know more about their situations, their living and psychological conditions, and their humanitarian needs.

She shared that she helped distribute relief items to the refugees, preparing food for orphans, organising recreational activities to entertain them, in addition to gifts and clothes provided to children and orphaned girls.

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