Arts Help is pleased to announce Amy Mowafi as a member of its 2023 Advisory Board. Amy co-founded MO4 Network, a leading digital media and creative content agency in the Middle East. A passionate advocate for women's rights and social issues in the region, Amy is a creative powerhouse.
How would your closest friend/family describe you in one sentence?
I think they would probably say that I work far too hard. But I hope they would also say that I always have a really positive attitude or positive energy.
Who is your favourite artist and why?
I think different people, different authors, musicians, artists and different entrepreneurs all inspire me in different ways. I find it very difficult to go, 'Okay, well this is my favourite.' I mean, obviously, apart from Beyonce because obviously there's no competition when it comes to her.
Which artwork in general has touched your life?
It is not an artist per se, but I always find myself feeling most inspired and also in awe whenever I am able to get up close with, the ancient artworks in Egypt's heritage spaces in the ancient sites and to me, it's an incredible thing. These stories have survived for 7,000 years, told through art on the walls of these monuments and I find that as a constant and daily source of inspiration as a storyteller.
It's an important, meaningful thing to me being an Egyptian. I always say Egyptians are the original storytellers and it feels like I have the privilege of continuing that legacy. So if there's any sort of art that inspires me and impacts me the most, it's that.
What's the best advice you have ever received and by who?
It was from my dad and he taught me the power of grit and resilience. Whatever happens, you don't really need to see the end, the light at the end of the tunnel, you just need to muster up enough energy to take one more step because, with each step that you take, things reveal themselves to you.
So when things seem very overwhelming, I always remember that I don't have to figure out the solution. I really just have to figure out the next five minutes or one-way step, and then take another one. If you wake up in the morning and you have been blessed with your health, then accordingly, anything is possible.
Using only one word, how would you describe Arts Help?
How do you think the way we view and perceive art is going to be transformed in the digital age?
I think what is incredible about what's happening in that space and in the digital age, is it has already happened when it comes to social media and will continue to happen in more meaningful ways as we continue to delve into Web3 spaces. It is this accessibility of art, I think that's an incredible thing.
The democratization of art is an incredible thing. I think sadly, for generations we have grown up thinking that art is something for the other, something that you have to be very privileged, rich, smart and intellectual for. I don't think we embed the appreciation and understanding of all art firms and/ or forms into our education systems.
I think the digital age path will continue to break down the gatekeepers that have perhaps, benefited from making art seem more sophisticated than needed. I think this idea of [dismantling] any kind of art as something sophisticated for others, is an incredible byproduct of the digital age and when you move into Web3 spaces, I think it's just going to be even more magnificent.
What is one misconception about artists and/or the art industry?
This idea of, a kind of discrepancy between the man on the street and the art world, I think continues to prevail in certain spaces. But as I said, I think those barriers are being broken down.
What colour would you choose to be in a box of crayons and why?
I don't why, but I've always loved the colour purple. I could not tell you why though... I gravitate towards that colour.
What does creativity mean to you?
Creativity is the freedom to express yourself. You know, we always talk about people being creative and not creative. I think everyone is creative.
I think not everyone gets the privilege to understand that support of themselves that they're allowed to access and for many people that get shut down very early on, be it to their parenting or their education or the education system we have globally, that really kind of forces that out of our children.
So, creativity is freedom.
What motivates you in life?
Telling stories. Just a privilege to do what I do and to be able to show the world the stories of our region and showcase another side of the region that people don't know about. To spotlight the amazing musicians and artists, entrepreneurs, filmmakers and people doing amazing things within creative spaces that truly shape our societies in ways that people don't always see immediately, and I feel tremendous privilege and constantly blessed. I'm constantly motivated and energized by the fact that I get to wake up every morning and tell these stories and showcase them to the world.
How can we bring diverse communities together through art?
I think we have to play a very active role in providing access to incredible art experiences. I mean, if you're talking about outside of the digital space, digitally, democratization is the default, it's inherent in it. But I think when it comes to real-world spaces, I think there is an onus in art organizations that have the power to do that – to make art accessible to as many different communities as possible.
Also, by providing access to schools and children. Underprivileged communities would never often have the opportunity to access these spaces and I think anyone who works within this field whether they're curators or gallery owners, or event organizers, has an absolute obligation to actively make these spaces acceptable to diverse communities.
Of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which do you relate to most and why?
I think it's very difficult to identify with just one the most. In essence, everything that they [SDGs] stand for is so integral.
It's basic human rights and we're having to have a conversation reminding people that they should give this shit about it and actually participate in improving our world so that people aren't suffering. It's just the rules of humanity.
How do you see the relationship between art and global activism?
If done right, art can be a very powerful and impactful way to understand and absorb important messages. I think it can be leveraged in tremendously impactful and empowering ways.
What makes Arts Help’s purpose/mission meaningful to you and how does it align with your own values?
My company is built on the idea of impacting people through stories and playing an active role in meaningful change in your communities, in your ecosystem and in your spaces through stories. I feel that's exactly what Arts Help is doing using both art and storytelling.
I was also very inspired by the diversity and inclusivity and the way that Arts Help puts their teams together and the people who work on this platform. Again, that was very much aligned with what we do. I also really love the fact that Arts Help intentionally focuses on regions that big global platforms rarely do. That is one of my life's missions; to really be able to showcase my region specifically in a way that dismantles misconceptions and preconceptions and I think so much of that is perfectly aligned with what Arts Help is doing through art and through stories.
What does success mean to you in terms of your contribution as a board member?
For me, the fact that I'm so embedded in the stories of this region, that I have work of incredible people that I have access to and that I know the things that are driving the creative space and people's imaginations in this region.
I hope it goes back to what I was saying, when global platforms focus on regions outside the typical kind of space, that's very, very powerful and important and I hope that that's the role that I can play. Coming in and saying that these are interesting things that are happening in my region and these are interesting people doing incredible things in my region. These are the people that you should focus on and tell stories about and this is the amazing art that is happening in the spaces in my region and let's showcase that to the world. Let's leverage the global power of your platform to amplify the stories I'm so passionate about.