Medina Yellow

Selly Raby Kane2020

Design Indaba

Design Indaba
Cape Town, South Africa

Africa is known for its bold, unapologetic use of colour. Stories are told in pigments, tones and hues; a kaleidoscope as diverse as the cultures and peoples of the continent. For the initiative Colours of Africa, a collaborative project with Google Arts & Culture, we asked 60 African creatives to capture the unique spirit of their country in a colour which represents home to them.

The projects they have created are personal and distinct stories of Africa, put into images, videos, texts and illustrations. Each artist has also attempted to articulate what being African means to their identity and view of the world.

Colour:Cairo Rides

Artwork Rationale:

I wanted to show not what Cairo looks like, but how experience feels. So I documented my experience in visual, sound and audio. How it feels to live, aspire and survive in a complex city. With a great history and a promising future. Every detail, emotion, thought, or question of my personal experience is represented in the colour red. Many may argue that red is not necessarily what Egypt 'looks' like, but it is definitely how living in it feels. In a fast-paced city with a population of youth as a majority – the power, passion, and chaos alongside the multilayered depth of one of the oldest civilisations in history and its present cultural dilemma – are all captured in hues of red.

Egypt is a country with a rich history, filled with stories of rebellion; civilizational triumph and downfall; and a rich religious, ethnic, cultural, and linguistic diversity. Growing up in such an environment, I became a natural storyteller and this is just one story of a 100 million stories. I tried to compress my journey into 55 emotions in 55 secs in 1 colour of my Cairo.

The inspiration is my actual written piece:

A complex journey.
Mixed emotions.
That strikes a flame in my soul.

Big fish in a small pond.
I dive deep.
Blurred vision.
I still see the art.
I feel the history.
Read between the lines.
Write my thoughts.
Chase the lights.
Match the patterns.
They say keep focused.
Disguise my intimacy.
Pray for mercy.
I am a woman,
Can I build a legacy?
Heart racing
Alarming chaos.
Hot food.
Loud machinery.
Kids running.
Youth rebelling.
Thrill maximised.

I FEEL Alive

I feel the history.
Read between the lines.
Write my thoughts.
Chase the lights.
Match the patterns.
They say keep focused.
Disguise my intimacy.
Pray for mercy.
I am a woman,
Can I build a legacy?

The flame again ignites.
Whispering – welcome to the Red Cairo rides.

What it means to be African

Being African to me is being a warrior. I'm a warrior for the Arab/African Identity. Being an African woman entails even more of a battle. Cairo is a male-dominated city. There are layers of gender inequality, peer pressure, religious and race conflicts. If a woman manages to get through these obstacles, only then can she be free to fight her own life battles. Our ancient African civilization has been overlooked, commercialised and fallen into abused clichés. I focus on using design and typography as a means to bridge cultures, dispel stereotypes, and celebrate history.


Egyptian designer Ghada Wali is the founder of Walisstudio. A TED Global Speaker 2017, Wali is the youngest female speaker to represent the Middle East and North Africa region. She was also the first Arab designer to speak at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris on World Arabic Language Day. The multiple-award-winning designer developed an Arabic typeface that was chosen as one of the best 100 graphic design pieces in the world by the Society of Typographic Arts in Chicago.

Wali’s work has been featured in art exhibits around the world and showcased in various articles internationally such as the World Economic Forum, Quartz Africa, Wired Italia & Japan, Slanted Berlin, and many more local and global platforms. Wali's work most recently won the Granshan competition in Munich, as well as two Adobe Design Achievement awards in San Diego. She has been awarded the AWDA, AIAP the women in Design Award in Milan, recognising the influential women in the field.

Wali made it to Forbes Europe's List 2017 (Arts & Immigrants category), which makes her the first Egyptian woman ever to appear in this category, and in 2018 she featured on the OkayAfrica-100 Women list. She has been featured on UN Women Egypt and has been representing the Egyptian Women Council empowerment campaign.

Wali holds a BA degree as one of the first design graduates of the German University in Cairo and a MA degree in design from IED Istituto Europeo di Design, Florence, Italy, which she won on a scholarship basis. Her design experience includes MI7 Cairo, Fortune Promoseven and J. Walter Thompson, as well as teaching Graphic Design in both the German & American Universities in Cairo. Most recently she was the only woman selected to represent the youth of Egypt at the opening of the World Youth Forum Sharm El Sheikh, and has been awarded by the president, the first time in the history of Egypt to recognise and award the field of graphic design/visual communication. She was also selected within the top 50 most influential women in Egypt, 2018.


  • Title: Medina Yellow
  • Creator: Selly Raby Kane
  • Date Created: 2020
  • Project: Colours of Africa
  • Location: Senegal

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app
Google apps