Ravensbourne Graphic Design student, Sherida Kuffour, has her designs used globally in the 'Save OurGirls' campaign to protest child abduction in Nigeria.
‘It's always disheartening to watch something horrific take place and know that there is very little you can do’, says Sherida, ‘Dealing with the case of 200 plus children who have gone missing - this campaign should not even exist.’
As a graphic designer Sherida feels she has no voice in political affairs. But as an activist she recognizes that it’s not just her job to make stuff pretty. ‘Even though I can’t be there fighting’, she says, ‘I can use the tools that I have to raise awareness’.
Having lived all over the world, Sherida decided to come to London to study at Ravensbourne. She has always been artistic, but while choosing what to study at university, she saw graphic design as a tool which would allow her to create art not just for the sake of the art, but rather as art with a message. All Sherida’s projects for her degree have evolved around the theme of women, also touching upon societal issues such as sexual harassment.
Sherida has been on Twitter for one and a half years. She loves it and is very active. Twitter has allowed her to connect with people all around the world, which in turn has enabled her to reach those who are passionate about the same issues.
A few weeks ago, together with several other women, some of whom are based in Nigeria, US, Ghana and Senegal, Sherida was moved to action by the story of the girls abducted in Nigeria. She decided to act as much as she could to get the news spread, using the skills that she had: she created a graphic identity for the cause.
‘My studies at Ravensbourne’, says Sherida, ‘Have taught me to be critical and passionate’. People often question whether graphic designers have a voice. At Ravensbourne students are taught to think before designing’.
The initiative to launch the campaign came outside of Sherida’s course of studies. It is now her final month at Ravensbourne, so things have been really hectic. Sherida has learned to work around her studies, tweeting while queuing for lunch and living her life around the campaign. ‘It’s a process, so it’s not really the end product’, she says, ‘I am just a part of it’.
Last Thursday Sherida’s designs for the campaign appeared on BBC news. A lot of high- profile people, including Michelle Obama, Mary J Blige and Chris Brown, have caught on with the campaign hashtag, #bringbackourdaughters. A silent protest has been organised in Germany and one of the participants had contacted Sherida for posters. People have been engaging and spreading the designs and Sherida is delighted that her designs have been instrumental in raising the profile of this campaign.
Sherida’s work can be viewed on her website (http://www.sheridakuffour.com/)and blog (http://www.coconutandcreamblog.com/). Her final project, ‘The Womanist’ - a feminist portrayal of six inspiring women and their reflections on love, motherhood and the different pressures of growing up - will be exhibited at the Degree Show which will be held at Ravensbourne from 16 - 20 June 2014.
For more information visit: http://thedegreeshow.com/