Danya Bayomi, aka The Urban Gypsea, gives us a peek into her world of doodling.
Egyptian born, Saudi raised, 20 year-old interior design graduate, Bayomi now works as an interior designer at IKEA as part of their expansion team.
When did you start doodling? Has it always been a part of your life?
“Doodling hasn’t always been a part of my life. I never considered myself an artist especially since I was never good at it in school or university. I went to Jeddah Prep and Grammar School. My doodling kind of just started when I was bored in class. It wasn’t something I was consciously doing as art.”
How would you define your style?
“I started experimenting with different shapes and designs; things I could doodle. It takes time to develop your own specific style. I have a few styles but I am still sort of developing them. There is still quite a bit to explore within these styles.”
The Urban Gypsea’s doodles develop organically in either progressive floral or geometric styles. They have been seen as bookmarks, notebooks and most notably, covering a wall at our favorite specialty coffee house, Medd Café. One of the more geometric designs was done for Doodle For A Cause. Most of her doodles are Zen tangles and such.
Where do you plan to take your art further?
“I want to experiment with more designs so that anyone who sees my doodles would see their style in them as well.”
She plans on branching out to creating more products with her doodles such as notebooks and more elaborate designs. Some of the more recent designs have been seen on her Instagram account where she doodles on photos and other objects.
How does doodling help you?
“It takes my mind off of things. Doodling gives me a break from thinking too much. Medd is my favorite piece I’ve done. It was my first large-scale piece that took 3 days to complete.”
The Urban Gypsea continues to experiment with different mediums and spaces for her creations.
Our artist of the month creates mesmerizing creations that merge traditional and modern together.
About the artist
“I am a lecturer at King Abdulaziz University. There are a few coming exhibits that will be announced soon. But mostly I post my work daily on my Instagram page.” One of Hend’s latest works now adorns the walls of Medd Café.
Art as a passion
As they always say, inspiration and revelations find you when you’re working. Hend grew up around art and it became part of her personality from an early age.
Since grade school she learned working with traditional oils, then started dabbling with mixed mediums. Her biggest fans and main support started with her family and twin sister.
The kind of mediums you use for your art plays a huge role in defining your art style. Our artist mostly focuses on mixed media paintings and then digitally transforms them. Sometimes she creates pottery pieces out of her illustrations.
“I would say my work is mostly a mash up of all the different forms of art that I have learned and experienced.”
Describing her art
As with any art project, there are many hidden elements that the artist knows and experiences. She explains blending everyday objects with a fantastical twist.
“I would call it contemporary Islamic art. My art arises from contemporary concepts, which focus on our traditional notions and modern world perception. However, my designs are inspired by traditional Islamic art geometry. My illustrations depict the geometric repetitions that echo my concepts.”
Challenging the traditional boundaries
Her traditional influences are evident in her work.
“I am an Islamic art graduate so Islamic geometric designs have always been inspiring to me. I use conceptual design while sticking to traditional Islamic pattern concepts; it has always been a form of decorative art to me. My work arises from using motifs that are from today’s world while implementing the same traditional techniques.”
The last ten days brought alive with stronger faith, prayers and du’aas.
I’tikaf is The Prophet’s sunnah; the profound spiritual practice of secluding oneself during the last ten days of Ramadan for meditation and prayers. Prophet Mohammed PBUH would stay in the mosque away from his family and friends during the entire last ten days.
Meditation during I’tikaf gives your mind calm and focus; instead of becoming preoccupied with the dunya and external situations, we focus on our iman and inner spiritual world.
Conditions of I’tikaf:
Similar to other manasek (rituals), you should be a capable and sane Muslim, with the correct intentions, in addition to staying at the mosque – for men only. Fasting is an obvious prerequisite. Once your intention is set, I’tikaf can be done in any mosque.
Take care of your health by eating and sleeping well.
Recite Qur’an and supplications, and avoid disturbing others.
Remember to pack smart with all your essentials; necessary medication and a first aid kit, along with clean clothes and sanitation supplies.
Be considerate of others at all times; The Prophet advised his companions to not eat strong scented food to avoid disturbing others during prayers.
Talk about worldly affairs; your focus should be entirely on the akhira
Stay online and on social media all the time
Link to register for I’tikaf in Madina: eservices.wmn.gov.sa
(Please note: The Masjid Al Nabawi website is primarily in Arabic. You can navigate to “Visitors’ Services” on the menu and select “I’tikaf Request”. The registration page itself is available in four different languages. )
Ramadan is about nurturing your mind, body and soul. Now is the time to prepare yourself for the blessed month.
Here are some tips to get you started:
NUTURE YOUR BODY:
Decrease your daily dose of caffeine until you can control your own mind without outer influences. Become a master of your own mind.
Stay hydrated. There is nothing more cleansing for you than staying hydrated.
Start eating a good hearty and healthy breakfast so you have energy throughout the day. You could make your own granola or have other energy giving foods. Don’t limit your morning meal to protein or carbs; breakfast needs to be balanced too, Sass says. Instead of having just yogurt, add some high antioxidant fruit, a good fat like nuts or seeds, and raw or toasted oats. And go for organic nonfat yogurts to maximize protein and quality.
Try to set up a good sleep routine. Sleep always gets messed up during Ramadan; people stay up the entire night and sleep during the day. Try to wake up for Fajr this week so you are in the habit of not missing sahoor.
Keep on moving on: after breaking your fast, try to walk around your neighborhood even if you feel uber lazy. Then you can Uber it to the mosque for your night prayers.
Ramadan is not about starving yourself or being hard on you. Write your goals and be kind to yourself and others.
NURTURE YOUR MIND AND SOUL:
Try to refrain from wasting your time and energy on things that do not add value to you or others. Make your conversations matter, do things that matter. Practice mindfulness, which is a mental state of awareness, focus and openness – which allows you to engage fully in what you are doing at any moment.
Declutter your space and clean up before Ramadan. Decorating specifically for Ramadan will get you and your family into the spirit. Everything seems real yet surreal when you put up fairy lights.
Give away stuff for charity. We are blessed enough to have more than what we need. Give some to those who are truly in need through different organizations in your hood.
Learn more about Ramadan by reading more about its significance, understanding the Quran and keeping your family involved in all of this.
Ramadan gives off a special sense of bliss, so enjoy that with an outdoor picnic.
Here are a few places where you can enjoy an outdoor iftar or suhoor in Ramadan:
Next to the King’s Fountain
The walkway and open-air sculptures complement the perfect Ramadan vibe. Have a picnic near the fountain and then tread the walkway to the nearest ice-cream stall. The recitation of the Qur’an at the Golden Dome mosque during the night prayers is one of the most dulcet tones we’ve ever heard.
Balad’s festival takes place every year during Ramadan. Become a part of the tradition by having your meal with the people over there; they are some of the most welcoming people in Jeddah.
Amirah Park by Friends of Jeddah Parks
One of Jeddah’s largest parks out there holds occasional Ramadan activities and iftar settings for its visitors. The park is only open for women and children and is under the management of Friends of Jeddah Parks.
North Corniche Next to Medd Café
The outside area of the café and the nearby beach is perfect for an outdoor iftar with family and friends. Right after the meal, enjoy a good cup of coffee at Medd Café.
The Floating Mosque
Built in the 1980s, this mosque is one of the famous landmarks of Jeddah. The mosque offers a wide veranda to sit together, enjoy the sunset over the sea and break your fast. Take your camera for some great photos of the exterior and interior of the mosque.
Al Shatea Walkway
This walkway is located right next to Hilton on the Corniche. It’s one of Jeddah’s largest walkways. There are benches and spots between palm trees where you can set up for your picturesque picnic.
Other notable parks perfect for an iftar or suhoor picnic are; Tahlia Park with all its swings and slides, Al Rawdah Park for barbecues and games or Al Eradah Park with its customized facilities for those with special needs, located at Al Salamah Dist.
All these places and more will make for an unforgettable Ramadan experience. Especially when you ask others to join in with your Ramadan feasts.
With the world getting smaller and traveling getting more personal than ever, well-seasoned travelers look for something more than tourist-filled plazas and resorts. Modern day travelers want to experience the places they visit hands-on & many desire to also make a difference.
It is a wonderful way to bring potential donors in and up close with those who need help the most.
This is a socially conscious travel company that helps individuals and groups create meaningful experiences. You can join a trip as they have journeys offered throughout the year to India, Nepal, South East Asia, Uganda and Kenya. These are not volunteer trips, but leaning opportunities.
Meaningful vacations allow a budget conscience traveler to give back by participating in a wide variety of programs and activities.
Earthwatch engages people worldwide in scientific field research and education to promote the understanding and action necessary for a sustainable environment.
Get involved here
Volunteer with Children in Nepal
Experience life in the Himalayas whilst volunteering in Nepal. 2 weeks from 850 Pounds. For more details visit here
Wildlife Research in South Africa Expedition
Travel to a private Big Five game reserve in South Africa and volunteer alongside an international team assisting in vital conservation work.
These types of programs are easy to find but be sure to choose a company that has done their research on projects and your accommodations.
Teachers Without Borders
Teachers Without Borders connects teachers to information and each other in order to close the education divide.
Find out more here
Doctors Without Borders:
Every year, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) provides emergency medical care to millions of people caught in crises in more than 60 countries around the world. MSF provides assistance when catastrophic events—such as armed conflict, epidemics, malnutrition, or natural disasters—overwhelm local health systems.
Get involved here
Vacations That Give Back:
Anyone can book their travel on the internet, but by becoming more aware of conscious travel agencies and travel for a cause opportunities, you will find the same vacation at the same price, that now has a positive impact for everyone on the entire planet.
It is a tourism company that operates a collection of destinations across the globe, in an enlightened and responsible way. Their slogan is “Leave a positive footprint”.
Their projects help reduce poverty, improve health and strengthen local education. They focus on environmentally friendly operations, nature and conservation of local species. For more information go here
Planeterra is part of a global movement to make travel sustainable and to minimize the impact on the environment, respect local cultures and offer economic benefits to local businesses and communities. For more information go here
World Expeditions are trekking and adventure travel holiday specialists. We ran our first trekking holiday in Nepal in 1975. Since then we’ve pioneered sustainable small group trekking and adventure travel holidays to every continent on earth.
Coworking spaces bring two worlds together to create a new universe: one where it’s social, energetic and creative and the other where it is productive and functional.
Brad Neuberg initiated one of the first coworking spaces out there by starting something called, Hat Factory. It was a live-work loft that was home to three tech workers, and open to others during the day. He, later, went on to develop the first working only coworking space, called Citizen Space. The coworking movement has been growing on strong as it allows for more connection, collaboration and freedom to work from anywhere.
Coworking spaces are popping up like cake shops these days. Well, not exactly like cake shops; nobody can beat that business in Jeddah. Here are a few RAD spaces where you can unleash your creative mind – solo or with other Creatives.
All these coworking spaces are based upon the following values:
The “Nawa” means to assist in growth. Nawa Space is a spacious working/events space where you can rent out the space or become a member or even volunteer. The idea behind the space is to encourage more activities in our community and to have a hub of proactive individuals. Nawa Space was brought to life by collaborative efforts from team members, community members and volunteers. Being in the heart of the city, it is easily accessible.
The space offers a wall-to-floor mirrored studio where activities such as aerobics, hip-hop dance classes and fitness sessions take place. As you enter, there’s an open workspace where you can either have study sessions or other group activities. There’s a fully equipped kitchen, gym storage and supplies storage rooms. The place gives you an energetic feel.
Nawa is a space for activities that aims to enrich the well being of people in Jeddah.
Many days and nights have seen amazing stuff happening here. There have been open mic nights, CreativeMornings talk, bookclub sessions, workshops of all kinds, gym classes and event openings. Stay in touch with the Nawa Space community to take part in the events and happenings here.
Mariam Hamidaddin of Humming Tree gives us some insight into the world of coworking.
“Starting Humming Tree was a natural progression of the path I was on. I’ve been in love with community, art and well being since I was a teen and the more I experience, the more I realize it’s need and how much I love this. I love supporting peoples dreams and being part of a community that embraces people for who they are.”
On the future of coworking:
“With the rise of digital media, entrepreneurship, self-awareness and people being able to work remotely, I see the need for coworking spaces expanding. There are even movements happening in the West such as co-living. There is a desire for offline meeting points, sharing and simple living.”
The Idea of Humming Tree:
Humming Tree aims to provide a safe space and support system for people in the creative and well being field, where they can network, collaborate, experiment, find inspiration, be productive, be themselves and evolve together.
Change starts the moment you walk into Humming Tree’s doors and see the “welcome home” sign. That sets a vibe and encourages people to be themselves. That, and always starting off with “yes” when hearing an idea and taking it from there. These two things create magic. People have stepped out of their comfort zones, given space to lead, manage and facilitate.
I’ve seen people gain confidence, discover things about themselves they never knew and grow throughout their participation at Humming Tree.
Sustaining a coworking space:
“I think one of the main points is to instill a sense of ownership and belonging in the community. That way there truly is an active level of co-thinking, co-managing, co-creation and more. That and also creating structure, networking, content creation, talent scouting. It’s nonstop but it’s fun and when you see the impact, it keeps you going.”
Kayan is a creative workspace for a growing community of dynamic creatives. Its philosophy is based on its Islamic roots that signify the coordinated function of the hand and arm that connects all elements together to work in unison to function together.
The space also acts as an incubator as initial ideas often struggle to develop and grow. Kayan offers resources, inspiration and collaboration opportunities for like-minded entrepreneurs.
The different spaces are designed to meet diverse needs: from fully furnished and serviced offices to shared workspaces, meeting rooms and a multifunctional hall for events.
Transparent room dividers ensure that the entire space is brightly lit. The minimal and white theme has been specifically picked to encourage a friendly, dynamic and energetic environment.
“For someone who can express a flood of emotions in just an artwork, I seem to be at loss for words when it comes to talking about myself. So, allow me to talk about myself, using art as my crutches. I like to shatter the walls of banality to pull out my raw perspective for everyone to see. Art is a way of survival, for without it, I don’t know where I’d be. To me, art is an identity.”
Salwa Ali is an artist, photographer and graphic designer. Her interests lie in art law and business. She’s a student at Dar Al Hekma focusing on visual communication. Her journey into art began when she first submitted a photo to Crossway Foundation’s competition and became part of their journey in the summer of 2012. Her work was then exhibited at the British Museum in London.
Since then, Salwa has won numerous awards for her work in visual arts. Being a creative, she often initiates projects that not only make you reflect, but also encourage participation.
One of her projects was the #RamadanIsMoreThan Instagram series. The concept was to focus more on the message of Ramadan and also to accept our flaws and tell relatable stories. You can check out the project using the hashtag on Instagram.
Unleash your creativity when you are frustrated and stuck in traffic.
Given the state of roads with all the construction going on, it wouldn’t come as a surprise that most of our time is spent in traffic. It can get quite frustrating. During her daily commutes, Salwa Ali, tried to find a creative outlet for her frustration and carsickness. She downloaded the best doodling app out there, Paper by 53, and started doodling while stuck in traffic. The drawings she creates on her phone are one of a kind. They are mostly portraits of different people. Each doodle begins with the character’s nose. The traffic, street bumps and the driver’s style of driving determines the rest of the drawing.
Breakfast and a short talk one Friday morning a month.
In 2008, Tina Roth Eisenberg (@Swissmiss) started CreativeMornings out of a desire for an ongoing, accessible event for New York’s creative community. The concept was simple: breakfast and a short talk one Friday morning a month. Every event would be free of charge and open to anyone.
Today, attendees gather in cities around the world to enjoy fresh coffee, friendly people, and an international array of breakfast foods. Volunteer hosts and their team members organize local chapters that not only celebrate a city’s creative talent, but also promote an open space to connect with like-minded individuals.
Real connections are not made behind a screen, they are made in person. It’s the moments in between, when you have a meal together or you just take a quick break.
Jeddah’s creative community joined forces this April to bring this initiative to Jeddah. It all started a couple of years ago when Rozana Al Banawi, founder of Creative Mornings Jeddah chapter, found out about it and realized how important it is in our community to connect creatives. Creative Mornings focuses on giving them a platform to speak about all the awesome stuff they do.
How it begins:
To become part of this global community, Rozana (Leadership Coach & Human Relations Expert) had to submit a video explaining why Jeddah should bring all these talents from different walks of life under one umbrella. This video was filmed with the help of Athr Art Gallery and can be viewed here:
After waiting and going through the authentication steps, finally on February 19th, 2016, Jeddah Creative Mornings was finally approved. A team was created to put this plan into action.
Every month has a different theme. Jeddah’s first morning talk had the theme of Risk. The speaker chosen was Ali Ghazzawi of Medd Cafe who talked about his story about the Risk of opening an independent cooperative business for men.
During the event, initially there was first mingling and coffee. Then a brief 30 min talk by the chosen speaker. Future events would follow the themes as described by the Creative Mornings guidelines.