Shoaib Nabi Ahmad will be greatly missed

Dear friends, dear comrades,

our community has lost a dear friend and one of our first and most important members. Shoaib Ahmad Nabi passed away few days ago. Shoaib established contact with Memefest already in 2003 in an effort to provide his students at the American University in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates with the opportunity to work on socially critical and engaged design work, to exhibit their work internationally and to collaborate and network with like minded people from around the world.

His initiative soon evolved into more than a decade of close collaboration with Memefest. His roles in Memefest were many- besides working with students, he designed a beautiful visual identity and a series of posters in English, Arabic and Urdu languages for the festival. He has passionately contributed as a jury member and curator and through this influenced the thinking of participants from around the world and importantly helped shape criteria of good visual communication for the past nine years. As an intellectual, educator, dear friend and true comrade Shoaib has also constantly given feedback about Memefest itself.

He was also a mentor at our legendary workshop in Nijmegen (Netherlands), where he was joined by his beautiful wife Sabaa and son Shayan, he was so very proud of them. Shoaib has constantly expanded further our networks. When he was in Manizales, Colombia, where Memefest Colombia is based, he was a guest at the International Festival of the Image, hosted by University Caldas. He led a workshop with a group of students about calligraphy, his conference speech touched the hearts of the audience for their sensitivity and ability to communicate regardless of language barriers. Those who knew him from that first impression consider him a friend.

Shaoib was professor at the design department at The American University in Sarajah, UAE where he was teaching visual communication, design management and multimedia. His teaching was deeply committed to critical reflection and the use of visual communication to address issues of social justice. He worked in the unique and puzzling hyper capitalist context of the United Arab Emirates, with its fake snow slopes at 40 C in Dubai and university facilities in Sharjah made of white marble. Within this context he was able to engage his students, who mostly live lives without the oppresion of material poverty, to look beyond the bubble and think and create works that imagined a better world, works that were shared on Memefest festival each year and crucially contributed to a nuanced and complex dialogue about Socially Responsive Communication. Shaoib was also a very sensitive artist and his works in ceramics express his search for the good and the beautiful.

He died in Colombia where he was in his semester break teaching at the department of Architecture. One of the last things he did was the curatorial feedback he wrote from his Colombian hotel room for Memefest Friendly competition 2013, on Food Democracy.

Shoaib was entering all his relationships with utmost respect and has spiced them up with sweet wittiness. The time with him was enriched with the most precious friendship. He's contribution to Memefest was crucial and without him Memefest would not be what it is today. He will be greatly missed.

Oliver, Vida, Dejan, Rok, Ana, Claudia, Nikola



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10 years, 9 months

can't believe it! he was such a fantastic person. still is. shocked.

10 years, 8 months

Very sad to hear - I first met Shoaib in Nijmegen and he was a really engaging and interesting person to speak to. He was very supportive to his students who were there and by introducing Memefest to the American University in Sharjah opened up all of us involved in the competition to a wider influence.
My thoughts go out to his family at such difficult times.