03 Mar 2019


Herve Matine
Herve Matine

Herve Matine, a French graphic designer of Iranian origin, was one of the jurors at the Architecture Design Art (ADA) ­Awards 2018-2019 which took place in Karachi recently. Matine started his studies at the University of Fine Arts in Tehran but after moving to France in 1982, completed his studies with a PhD in Fine Arts from Paris Diderot University in 1987.

One of a number of his laudable achievements is Matine’s initiation of MediaVillage in 2000. Located in Paris, it is a space that provides various freelancers and agencies to create and design their respective projects. By 2002, Matine’s practice started to lean towards activism and, he hosted an auction for Greenpeace, an organisation that works for a greener and healthier Earth. By 2009, he started his own online graphic design project called ‘Poster for Tomorrow’, which is perhaps his most well-known accomplishment.

‘Poster for Tomorrow’ is a poster competition for designers and artists all across the world to raise awareness on universal issues. This particular project, founded in 2009, addresses topics which affect people globally, such as the right to education, housing or work, regardless of their nationality. The first movement that this programme initiated was titled ‘Freedom of Expression’ — and one of the reasons it came about was the crisis in Iran where people were condemned and punished for demanding their right to democracy and journalism. Hence, the competition became a platform which discouraged any sort of injustice.

French graphic artist Herve Matine promotes design as a form of expression for social causes

In 2015, ‘Poster for Tomorrow’ had its seventh exhibition titled ‘Right to Healthcare’ in Karachi in collaboration with The Second Floor (T2F). Since this year marks the 10th anniversary of ‘Poster for Tomorrow’, the programme aims to hold talks and exhibitions all across the world of all the posters that have been created over the span of the past 10 years, including one talk that took place in Karachi earlier this year at Habib University.

As a juror for the category of Design, for the ADA Awards, Matine mentioned a short film, Roshni Helpline, which he voted for and which he found highly engrossing. This particular film raises awareness regarding kidnapping of children in Karachi, which led it to win the award under the subcategory of ‘Moving Image Design.’ According to Matine, this film sheds light upon the issue of child protection which citizens of any nation in this world would agree to and demand. He also feels the internet should also be given due credit as it raises awareness on the critical issues highlighted by his poster campaign.

Since one of ADA’s talks was also held at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture (IVS), Matine was highly impressed with the history of the building which was shifted brick-by-brick from Kharadar to Clifton. He felt it to be an incredible initiative taken by the founders of the IVS to preserve this building as history is what makes the identity of a place with its own particular architecture, design and art. This was precisely the aim of the ADA Awards — to observe the city of Karachi through the lens of the three disciplines and to learn what it was and what it has transformed into.

According to Maria Aslam, founder of ADA magazine, these particular awards were held to give a platform to various artists, architects and designers to address their individual concerns regarding the treatment of the city we live in and how it is responding to us, taking into consideration our environment, society and culture today.

Published in Dawn, EOS, March 3rd, 2019