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Apprenticeship with the Artist
Apprenticeship with the Artist
Workshop on "Sabak Hikaya"

Apprenticeship with the Artist Mohye Ed-Din Ellaba

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The first pilot "apprenticeship" project was undertaken in January 2004 with renowned illustrator, artistic designer, and “book-maker” Mohye ed din el Labbad in Egypt (making books and illustrations). Twelve people in the field of illustrations met in Cairo in January 2004 (with the exception of one who could not make it), in order to learn from Mohye Ed-Din Ellabad and also from one another. They were:

Emad Hajjaj (Jordan)
Osama Hajjaj (Jordan)
Mohammad Ammous (Palestine, could not come)
Saad Hajo (Syria/Lebanon)
Sahar Burhan (Syria/Lebanon)
Sonia Wajo (Morocco)
Salah Madany Elmur (Sudan)
Raouf Karrai (Tunisia)
Rania Amin (Egypt)
Dunia Abdallah (Egypt)
Mohye Ed-Din Ellabad (Egypt)

Ellabad has a long and diverse experience as an illustrator, writer, graphic designer, and producer of books and magazines for children and adults. However, he never perceived himself only as a skilled professional or as a master in his art. He perceives himself as a person who tried to be as attentive as possible to the world around him and to express that as honestly as possible through his illustrations and his words, i.e. honest to his experience and to the values and convictions he lives by.

The ten people who joined Ellabad are accomplished artists in the field. They have jobs and are very busy. However, when we suggested that they go and stay with Ellabad in Cairo, all showed readiness and enthusiasm. They all felt that, by being together, they could gain a broader understanding of what they do, and possibly acquire new skills and perspectives as well as may learn how to do some of what they do better.

During their being together, all of them were teachers and learners. They exchanged their work, publications they have produced, and books and articles and works that they found useful in their work and life. The workplace of Ellabad, and people and places they visited, all formed part of the “campus” and its resources and facilities. They visited some artists and workplaces in Cairo and Alexandria and learned the art of some “resource” people, including a Swede (… …) who worked in Elminia and Alexandria with children using cartoons to tell stories. Some participants were very inspired and decided to use this form in their work in the future. The gathering in Cairo was simply a “learning community”, where friendships were developed, and arrangements for future cooperation on some common projects started. As for certificates, we suggested that the only people who can certify what took place are the participants themselves, and they could do that if they so wished. In addition, a short video and a publication (which they themselves have put together) about their “learning community” will be available soon to those interested in knowing about what took place during that month, and in particular, to those interested in regaining diversity in learning in our lives and communities.

Moreover, we talked about the possibility that each one of them could do something similar in her/ his workplace, as a teacher/ mentor for younger artists in their respective communities. The “campus” thus would expand…

It is worth mentioning at the end that what took place in Cairo embodies a set of values/ principles/ convictions that lie at the heart of al-Jameah. These include: every person is a teacher and a learner (nurturing is always mutual), each person is uniquely complete (no one can be a copy of another), learning involves both building the inner world of each person and the social, spiritual, intellectual, and cultural fabric among the group, and experiential maturity should precede or be concomitant with understanding and knowing through words.

Ellabbad, in cooperation with the ten artists, is currently working on a book about this experience to be published in 2004.


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