Artist Ghada Wali sentenced to 6 months in prison for plagiarizing Russian artworks turned murals in Cairo Metro stations

El-Sayed Gamal El-Din , Tuesday 30 Jan 2024

A Cairo Economic Court sentenced graphic designer Ghada Wali to six months in prison on Tuesday over charges of plagiarizing artwork from Russian artist Georgy Korasov and incorporating it into murals placed on walls of Cairo Underground Metro stations.

Wali
A combined photo showing a design that had been placed on a wall of Girls' College Station of Cairo's third metro line (left), and a design of Russian plastic artist Georgy Korasov (right) from his official website.

 

The court also remanded Wali on bail of EGP 10,000 and fined her a temporary civil compensation of EGP 100,000.

Investigations revealed that the 31-year-old artist Wali allegedly infringed the financial and literary rights of the Russian artist.

Wali was accused of copying four artistic drawings from Korasov’s innovative work depicting the ancient Egyptian civilization and using them without his permission in murals at Girls' College Station in Cairo.

In July 2022, Egypt’s National Tunnels Authority and RATP Dev Mobility Cairo, the operator of Cairo Metro’s third line, issued an apology to Korasov, considering suing Wali.

They confirmed they had contracted the advertising agency – Wali’s Studio – to create artistic designs for this cultural project, noting that a legally binding clause was included stating that the advertising company is solely responsible for providing original artistic designs.

The clause stated that in the case of quoting or copying, it must obtain official legal approval from the original artists of these works authorising their use, the statement read.

Moreover, Mobility Cairo released at the time a video showing the murals being removed less than a week after the Russian artist complained on Twitter that his paintings were used without his consent.

During the investigations, Wali claimed that her studio won a bid from the French company –  RATP Dev Mobility –  for a project involving the designs of murals in metro stations.

Wali stated that the murals were industrial designs created using electronic programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator, which differ from drawings.

She stressed that she provided the basic idea, inspired by ancient Egyptian art, and implemented the shapes using the cubist technique founded by Picasso.

The Egyptian artist denied any wrongdoing, emphasizing that the industrial design she created was not an artistic creation but an execution adhering to the client's conditions and specifications.

 

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