Since launching Kahina 7 years ago, a frequent question has been what the artwork on the packaging represents. For those of you who still don’t know, the artwork is a compilation of signatures of the women of one of the first argan cooperatives I worked with. Most of these women cannot read or write their names. In putting their “marks” and signatures on the packaging I hoped to honor these women as the true artisans behind the brand while illustrating who they are in spirit.
These women are very poor and mostly illiterate, but have great dignity, and make an effort to create beauty out of the simplest raw materials. They were thrilled when I gave them pens and paper to use to write their name, as these materials are typically out of reach to them. Because of literacy programs offered to them through the cooperatives, one or two of them were able to actually write their names, which are identifiable on the box to those who read Arabic. Others drew simple squiggles or their own designs, like the star in the circle above by Zahara Aziz pictured below.
Recently, I was alarmed to be asked whether I will be modifying my brand identity given the current climate of tension and fear brought about by the events in Paris and San Bernadino and heightened by the statements of Donald Trump. While I hesitate to engage in these conversations for fear of politicizing my brand, I feel inspired to introduce these women and to bring to light some of the faces behind these signatures – loving, kind and generous people, mothers, wives, sisters and daughters.
Read more about these women and their stories on here