Red Rust: A Festival of Color

Discover how urban calligrapher and graffiti artist Hakim Idriss creates art from the pigments found in rust

Portrait of Hakim IdrissDesign Indaba

Meet Hakim Idriss

Hakim Idriss is the creative director of Swana Studio, an arts collective in Comoros. Idriss is based between Paris and Moroni, the capital of Comoros and is an “urban calligrapher", graffiti artist and experienced art director .

The colors of the Union of the ComorosDesign Indaba

The color of the comoros

For a new commision, Hakim  wanted to find a color that represented his home — the Comoros. 

''It was difficult to chose a single color from a country with so many diverse shades. If I had taken the easy way, I would have turned to the blue of the ocean that surrounds us or the green of the tropical forests of our land.''

The colors of the Union of the ComorosDesign Indaba

An unexpected color

Instead of the greens of the forest or the blues of the sea, however, Hakim became interested in the red rust which colors so much of the Comoros and which captures the energy of the city.

The colors of the Union of the ComorosDesign Indaba

Finding beauty in rust

''Quite simply by looking down on the city, and walking through its streets I found the color which inspires me most 
— the color of rust.''

The colors of the Union of the ComorosDesign Indaba

Finding an infinite color palate

''Many hate the rust here because it eats away at metals and creates problems but I really like the rust or rather the tones and texture of gradients where we will find an infinite number of colors ranging from brown to orange, including of course the red it creates. Little by little, it is able to cover huge surfaces and transform a cold and metallic area into a festiva''

Rust RedDesign Indaba

A color which holds the ocean within it

''This rust red invades the tin roofs of houses, under the accelerated action of sea air. The ocean is therefore intrinsically hidden in this rust red. But it is also the color of a paint called "Rustproof" that us local artists use frequently here. ''

Rust RedDesign Indaba

Not your average canvas

I bought a jar of this Rustproof paint. I chose a black tin plate that had rusted well as a canvas and began to paint without giving too much thought.

Rust RedDesign Indaba

Working wit rust

Using the paint and the rust iteself Hakim worked on an abstract piece  which contained letter "S" within it, a symbol used throughout Hakim's practice.

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