Kagi Kowa is originally from Sudan. When she arrived in Australia from Kenya with her three sisters she found that creating art helped her overcome feelings of loss, displacement, and self-identity. She started her social enterprise business, Nubia Designs, in 2017 to help fellow refugees transition to life here through creating and enjoying art.
Based in Brisbane, Nubia Designs offers both products and services, selling handmade art and crafts from African artists all around the world. Kagi also presents art workshops run by individual artists, aimed at giving everyday Australians the opportunity to experience art from different cultures.
“This will allow them to see the world through different eyes,” she says. Kagi wants to create an environment that promotes intercultural understanding through storytelling while encouraging a sense of belonging and inclusion for new arrivals. She knows how hard it can be to adjust.
“I miss my culture most, the warm hospitality, friends and social life. I miss the food occasionally, but luckily I can cook.”
Kagi describes herself as ‘a bowl of passion’ when it comes to social justice and human rights, and to helping others. “I love it when people walk into my workshops with so much self-doubt about their ability to be creative and leave at the end with so much confidence,” she says. “Many have said they never thought they could paint.”
Sister Tribe, she says, gives Kagi a sense of community. “I always have Sisters who have got my back and will support me throughout my journey.”
Nubia Designs products can be found at markets and online.