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Saudi Alaa Balky Offers A Platform To Support The Region’s Creative Community

It’s difficult to find a footing in the industry and this directory gives creatives a well-deserved shout out.

As well as dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, this year has been associated with bringing about change. And this includes the Arab world, where creatives like photographers, art directors, fashion designers, journalists, stylists, artists and many more feel there is a major issue in their community. Spurred by the BLM movement, the regional creative community is beginning to speak out about being misrepresented as they feel brands and major publications based in the area are doing minimum effort to highlight Arab talent.  


Une publication partagée par آلاء بلخي Alaa Balkhy (@alaa) le

Feeling it’s high time for the creative industry to become truly inclusive, Alaa Balkhy has come up with an amazing solution. The Saudi cultural consultant, art director, illustrator and fashion entrepreneur has created a comprehensive online directory via Google Forms. Compiling established and emerging Arab creative, the directory lists names and contacts for almost any kind of Arab creative, whether graphic designers and filmmakers or make-up and hair artists.  

The New York and Jeddah-based Balkhy posted about the directory, her latest effort to hold the industry accountable for its bias, on Instagram. Along with an image, she wrote the caption, “We made a list from us, for us.” 


Une publication partagée par آلاء بلخي Alaa Balkhy (@alaa) le

Make-up artist Aya Tarik, who is based in New York and studied make-up artistry at the Make Up For Ever Academy, is another Saudi supporting Arab creatives. Saif Hidayah has also been using his platform to back them. Hidayah is the Founder of the ILNA Collective, a digital creative hub that comes up with exclusive content curated by creatives from the MENA region via its Equal Opportunity Initiative.   


Une publication partagée par ILNA COLLECTIVE (@ilna.collective) le

About Alaa Balkhy 
Jeddah-born Alaa Balkhy describes herself as a “serial entrepreneur.” After graduating in Graphic Design from Dar Al-Hekma University, Balkhy, who was raised in Montreal, launched Fyunka, a company known for its quirky illustrations. Additionally, Balkhy, who also studied Design Management and Strategy at New York’s Pratt Institute, is the Co-Founder of “Minaazine,” a quarterly publication exploring the cultural aesthetic and lifestyles of Middle Eastern and North African cultures.  


Une publication partagée par آلاء بلخي Alaa Balkhy (@alaa) le

The nominee for Ernest and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2013) and finalist for “Forbes Middle East” Saudi Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2015) is behind Alaa Bint Hashim, a fashion label that is inspired by her constant travels, too. Plus, she founded Minnana, an Arabic podcast that gives women the opportunity to talk freely. Her impressive career has seen her work with various brands, ranging from Nettflix, Faces and Guerlain to Tod’s, Rubaiyat, Farfetch and Rimmel.

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