New & now
Meet Magda Azab: the Italian illustrator inspired by Malta’s colours & ‘disorderly’ streets
Magda Azab moved to Malta three years ago and her surroundings have intertwined themselves within her vibrant illustrations.

Joanna Demarco

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Magda Azab

Magda Azab is a freelance illustrator who has made Malta her home. Through geometry, colours, playfulness and visual metaphors, she tells a story or illuminates a concept in a vibrant and feel-good manner.

Hungry for change, at least change that is temporary, Magda moved here from Milan almost three years ago, with her boyfriend and her dog, Zaky, thinking that the three of them were going to embark on a an experience of “living in another country for a few months."

“We came here for a vacation and we fell in love with the island, so instead of a temporary experience it has become our second home,” she admitted. 

Choosing the sea and ‘simpler life’ over the bustling streets of Milan, Magda believes that “the big city life has never belonged to (her).”

“I like a simple and easy lifestyle, where people still have the time to smile and talk to each other and where small shops have not yet been replaced by shopping malls. Furthermore, I like seeing how modernity and traditions can coexist in a unique and strange way here.”

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Magda Azab illustration

Although Magda’s work does include illustrations specifically of Malta, the bulk of her work is non-related. She is mainly focused on editorial work for magazines and agencies. “But even if I work for brands or on private commissions, I really like it when someone asks me to do an illustration for his beloved,” she adds. Despite not always being about Malta, though, she believes the country’s inspiration has somewhat intertwined itself into her visual language.

“I believe that even when it is not directly represented in my works, Malta, in one way or another, certainly inspires and influences my work,” she said. “In the last three years, I felt the need to change my style a bit, so from something more formal and geometrically perfect I moved into something more imperfect and ‘dirty’.”

“In this process, I see a great reflection of what has changed around me. In Italy I lived in a very neat place, where more or less in every street, each element was in place... every big street was in order, every balcony or door had the same shape and colour which gave you a common feeling of harmony, or at least that's the perception of a person who grew up there.”

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Magda Azab illustration

“Here, it is strange how every street, door, window and decoration is different from each other - if you take an overview of a street, you perceive a strange feeling of disorderly chaos in which every element is different and not always in harmony with the others, but at the same time they really express the personality of those who live there. I think that this peculiarity, which can also be defined as imperfection, is what makes the Maltese roads so unique and beautiful. The streets are certainly my first source of inspiration, especially those in the old villages.”

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Magda Azab illustration

What other place screams beauty in imperfection more than the Birgu flea market? It's no surprise then, that it happens to be Magda’s favourite place on the island.

“If you see beyond the layer of dust, that place is a real magnet for small treasures and strange things from around the world, and you just never know what to expect,” she says.

Asked about the creative scene here in Malta, Magda feels like it’s “growing faster every day. Moreover, since Malta is such a small island, it is really convenient to meet creatives in person and collaborate... this is something that really adds values to the life of a creative.”

Visit Magda's website here.


Joanna Demarco
Written by
Joanna Demarco

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