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Afrabia

The project explores ideas on multicultural identities, hybridity and the third space and how literary magic realism has been successfully used by novelists to tell unconventional narratives that magically explore everyday life in the ‘third space’. In particular it looks at Tayeb Salih’s ‘Season of migration to the North’ that follows Mustafa’s journey from Sudan to London and his struggle with his contradicting, convoluted and evolving ethnic identity. The works researches and translates magic realist techniques extracted from literature, art and photography into design techniques, and then combines this with information extracted from the photographic essay on the Sudanese aesthetic to build a hybrid, urban, magic realist Afrabia. This ‘Afrabia’ utilises the existing hybrid qualities of the street, such as the multicultural market stalls, restaurants and the Alfie’s antique store as a catalyst for the masterplan. These hybrid qualities are re-appropriated through magic realist techniques to create a magic realist Afrabia that plays with ideas on Orientalism, hybridity and cultural authenticity. It re-imagines characters like Mustafa as Alfies dealers who use both the orientalist and authentic aesthetic to recolonise their spaces and benefit from their hybrid Afro-Arab identities.

Tutors: Rahesh Ram & Sam Coulton, University of Greenwich, 2019.