We have been seeing it for a while and we're hoping the phenomenon won't be stopping any time soon! Cairo's offices, cafes and many more venues have been invaded by graffiti and wall paintings.
Yes, it's the era of the arts and a lot of artists are trying to catch their big break, and one startup is doing its best to make sure that wall painting is more than just a phase –that it could potentially be a job, and hopefully a sustainable one; offering artists opportunities to work on exciting projects.
Jidar is founded by 20-year-old Sara Gaafar, who wanted to fill a certain gap in the arts market.
Gaafar was inspired by one of the many artists trying to make a living solely out of their craft. On one of her trips to Dahab, she saw an empty canvas and some paint at a cafe and immediately asked who it belonged to. She then met the artist and they started having a conversation about paint, mediums, techniques and the art scene in Cairo. After getting to know him for a while, she realized that he chose art as his career of choice, so his financial state depended on this.
Her idea was triggered again later on when she attended Rise Up last December. Many speakers were talking about how the most precious resource that you can find out there is talent. Gaafar then realized that Egypt has a lot of talents who aren't able to market themselves properly and therefore limit their connections with potential clients.
The many gaps spotted here and there led the idea to be more than just an idea; it could be a source of income, a business. She started contacting artists to be a part of the initiative, and five of her friends began the journey with her. Later on, two of them became her managing partners: Farah Emara and Tasneem Amr.
After a few months of planning, Jidar became a reality in February 2017; connecting anyone interested in adding a mural to their workplace or home with an artist who’s fit for the job. And ever since then, they have had many satisfied customers, such as Harry's Bar in Hurghada's Desert Rose Resort and Crossfit Rhea.
You may wonder, why walls? As an artist, Gaafar has been asked to paint walls for friends and acquaintances, which made her come to the conclusion that "walls are the most practical canvas you can ever find." She also believes that every wall has the potential of being turned into a beautiful art piece and thereby art can find its way into any place that stood on bricks.
Gaafar's dreams and vision for Jidar don't just stop here at the walls of homes and cafes; she aims to do her part to help art make its way on to buildings. She spoke passionately about how she'd love for art to be integrated with marketing and one day appear on billboards. It’s different from the commercial way the industry is working, but she’s trying to make it work.
Gaafar and her partners are extremely focused on studying the market and are trying to catch opportunities that have room for their innovation. She’s currently planning to create a website that would connect people who want to add murals to their space with artists fit for the project. The purpose is to create a big network that would not only help both sides connect easier, but also revolutionize the world of wall paintings.
So whether you’re looking for someone to help you beautify your space or a more sustainable job doing the thing you truly love, Jidar is here to save the day!