I vaguely memorised Rumana Sayed’s name almost a year ago when I was flicking through the truly fantastic ‘Every Woman Super Woman’ zine with its colourful aesthetics and powerful words. Fast forward half a year later, the young graphic designer becomes the new artist-in-residence at Out of the Blueprint and pretty successfully showcases a bold and punchy body of work in her first solo exhibition ‘Don’t Be Denied’. So we have a wee bit of catching up to do!
Tell me a bit about your background. How did you get into making art?
My name is Rumana Sayed, I’m 21 years old and live in Edinburgh. I was born in South Africa, but been brought up in the heart of Leith for 17 years. Growing up I have always been into making and creating. I didn’t know what I wanted to do leaving High School. I got into Edinburgh college to do Visual Communication & Graphic Design, studied for 3 years and it became a part of my life ever since. Its a tool for me to creative things differently in a unique way. I also express myself creatively through my projects. I use graphic design to communicate to people without having to be very vocal.
How was it to work with the Edinburgh Art Festival and being involved in such a huge project that made waves all over the UK?
It has been an honour to be able to work with such a big team. Being a part of the Young Saheliya group I got loads of opportunities during last summer and got to meet some great people from different organisations such as Edinburgh Art Festival, Stills Gallery, Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre and the young girls from Young Saheliya. I wanted to do something more for the young girls in the group as I knew a lot of girls couldn’t speak up. I am very privileged I could make something powerful and get the young girls voices heard.
As being a part of the Young Saheliya group I was also able to design a zine called Every Woman Super Woman for the group. I got to work alongside Helena from Edinburgh Art Festival, whom introduced me to the Out Of The Blueprint studio. That is how I became their next artist in residence as they’ve seen the zine that I was developing at the time.
Having relationship with so many woman during this project has opened up a lot of opportunities for me and I appreciate how much time and effort they put in the project for the young girls and letting me be a part of the work along side with them. I would defiantly say that all these girls/women influence me and inspire me.
By looking at your most recent project Don’t Be Denied – a bold body of work that carries weight and calls for an empowering representation of women in our society – inspiring change has an immense importance in your work.
Yes, my work is very political. I do enjoy challenging peoples perspective and how we think in our society as well. It is really important for me to inspire and educate others through my work. I have had a lot of great feedback from doing this project and an excellent opportunity for to network and share my work with a large group of audience. This has been the biggest achievement for me to host my very own solo exhibition and letting my work communicate itself to others.
What’s next on the horizon for you?
I am looking forward to launching the second Every Woman Super Woman zine at Leith Late and host the exhibition which will sit along side with the zine which will be at Out Of The Blue. The exhibition is working with the girls from Young Saheliya to produce their thoughts and feelings about street harassment. I am hoping for this to open more doors in the future for me. I am going to be carrying on with being a freelance designer as I love doing it and also be able to work with more charity/organisations.
Thanks Rumana & all the best for the future!