Lost memories in a sea of concrete

Meet El Hamdi Firas - winner of Drawing of the Year 2016

A unanimous jury appointed El Hamdi Firas the winner of the international student competition Drawing of the Year 2016 with his digital drawing of a city marked by conflict.

El Hamdi Firas.725X442

El Hamdi Firas.

The jury described the drawing as of very high artistic level and they were impressed by El Hamdi Firas’ interpretation of the competition theme Habitation. The drawing shows how conflicts shape contemporary cities and turn them into the worst types of monuments of our era.

The idea behind the drawing

When El Hamdi Firas developed the concept of the drawing, he reflected on the contemporary city as a fleeting bearer of collective memory:

“In nature, every trace reflects the presence of an actor. Habitation used to be our trace, the mirror of our identity. How we build space to live in is not just a technical issue, it shows how we live and how we perceive our lives,” he speculates.

“Contemporary cities are made to save money and time, not memories and identity.  My drawing shows buildings as big blocks of condensed memories and lives. Chairs, tables, tubs… every piece represents one forgotten story, one lost memory in a sea of concrete. Conflicts and wars amplify this mess. Ruins of bombed cities are traces of an absent actor, and it tells, how we die and how our memory has been disfigured,” El Hamdi Firas says explaining the idea behind the winning drawing.

Production methods

El Hamdi Firas has used different digital techniques to create his drawing:

“The artwork is made with 3D software,” Firas says and elaborates:

“Three big building-shaped structures have been filled with 3D furniture models. In order to create a realistic representation of the furniture in the three “buildings”, a dynamic simulation was made with all the models. Chairs, tables, tubs etc. were released from a certain height to fall into the building-shaped structures thus creating the effect of condensation.

Foggy ambient, carbon effects have been added to express the chaos and the messiness of the contemporary city.”


Composition of the drawing.

Vinder.render test.600X424

Render test of the drawing.

First prize: El Hamdi Firas

The final drawing.


El Hamdi Firas (born 1992) studies at the National School of Architecture and Urbanism of Tunis.

In 2015 he launched his artistic project This is everyday, a daily experience of visual art production where Firas explores new techniques in visual arts, graphics, and architecture.

The project has been exhibited at the National School of Architecture and Urbanism of Tunis.