University of Bayreuth, Presse release No. 109/2022 - 7 July 2022

African Art meets German art teaching 

On 4 and 5 July 2022, the illustrator Deena Mohamed from Egypt and the graphic artist Evan Sohun from Mauritius visited Bayreuth school classes. The Cluster of Excellence "Africa Multiple" at the University of Bayreuth initiated and organised the classroom visits.

Deena Mohamed (above) and Evan Sohun (right). Photos: private.

As part of its annual conference on the topic of "Medialities", the Cluster of Excellence "Africa Multiple" of the University of Bayreuth invited a number of artists to participate in keynote addresses, panels, and discussions during the week of 4-10 July 2022, including Deena Mohamed from Egypt and Evan Sohun from Mauritius. Prof. Dr. Ute Fendler, co-spokesperson of the cluster, and Dr. Doris Löhr, coordinator of the cluster area of Inter-nationalisation and Public Engagement, had the idea of introducing the two renowned African guests to various Bayreuth school classes. "Deena Mohamed and Evan Sohun are very accomplished and renowned artists in their respective fields, and we are pleased that we were able to give Bayreuth pupils this unique opportunity to meet the two artists and their work. During the visits, the students were not only able to learn about the art forms and be creative themselves, but also to ask the artists about their biographies and how their cultural background influences their work," says Ute Fendler.

Drawing lessons with Evan Sohun at the FOSBOS, Bayreuth. Photos: FOSBOS

The African artists held workshops at Markgräfin-Wilhelmine-Gymnasium Bayreuth (MWG), Altstadtschule Bayreuth, and Staatliche Fachoberschule und Berufsoberschule Bayreuth (FOSBOS). "Our pupils took part in the workshop with Evan Sohun with great interest and obvious enthusiasm and took away many ideas. The direct encounter with the artist was a special experience for these young people - not least against the background of the coronavirus-related restrictions of the last two years - and broadened their horizons. Thanks to Evan Sohun's inspiring style, they quickly took up paper, brush, and pen and created some fantastic art. Both the students and the participating teachers from the art department were thrilled by this enchanting insight into Evan Sohun's art and the cultural diversity of Africa," reports Katrin Wittenbeck, teacher and School without Racism - School with Courage coordinator at FOSBOS.

Evan Sohun (center) with students of the FOSBOS. In the background, the pictures created in the workshop. Photo: FOSBOS.

On Deena Mohamed:
Deena Mohamed is an illustrator and graphic designer who started drawing comics at the age of 18. Her satirical webcomic about a visibly Muslim superheroine, Qahera, dealt with social issues and went viral, attracting attention from the BBC, the Times, Foreign Policy, and other media. Her debut graphic novel Shubeik Lubeik won the Best Graphic Novel and Grand Prize at the Cairo Comix Festival (2017) and was published by Dar el Mahrousa in 2018. The second and third volumes of Shubeik Lubeik in Arabic followed in 2019 and 2020. An English translation of all three volumes is scheduled to be published in January 2023. Works by Deena Mohamed are present in exhibitions worldwide. In 2017, the artist was featured by the Washington Post on the occasion of International Women's Day as one of "five women changing the world for the better".
Further information:

On Evan Sohun:
Evan Sohun is a versatile Mauritian artist. His creative ventures include the publication of numerous animated book designs and magazine covers, as well as art exhibitions and cultural festivals locally, regionally, and
internationally. In Mauritius, he is represented by Imaaya Art Gallery. His focus today is on painting on canvas and paper, as well as creating murals for city centres. Evan's belief that art, when used properly, can trigger effective social change has led him to work closely with regional schools and community leaders to conduct workshops for social hotspots in Mauritius. His deliberately disorderly and burlesque style is often done in carefully selected warm and bright colours, and is enriched by original graphic effects.
Further information:

Sabine Greiner.

Sabine Greiner

Africa Multiple Cluster of Excellence
University of Bayreuth

Christian Wißler, Wissenschaftskommunikation

Christian Wißler

Deputy Press & PR Manager, Research Communication
University of Bayreuth

Phone: +49 (0)921 / 55-5356