Why I have enthusiastically responded to the COVID-19 donation appeal from the Museum of Contemporary Art

And why I encourage you to do the same for your local museum

Ibrahim El Badawi
8 min readSep 5, 2020


Two years ago today, exactly on the early afternoon September 5th, 2018, I was heading towards the exit door of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in Sydney, Australia after spending a couple of hours in my regular personal “Art Time” treat.

While taking down the stairs I spotted this giant banner fixed to the ceiling:

The banner that reads: What do you wish you had been told the truth about? was promoting the Conversion Starter 2018

The moment I read these words, I couldn’t help but pause and repeat this question in my head over and over again. I snapped this photo and never bothered to share it with my Instagram friends; it was for myself.

For that question to pop up right before my eyes at that time, it augmented an ongoing conversation I had been having with myself for a while as part of a greater self-discovery journey.

That Alchemist-style, unforeseen, and soul elevating journey was mainly triggered by my move to Australia from Dubai two years earlier, a big move I made in pursuit of my tale of two cities dream. The moment I landed in Sydney, I realised that I was finally granted a unique opportunity to fulfil a deep unsettling double-sided urge that I had to put up with for years. To challenge my own culture and value system from the outside, and to explore the Western cultural system.

By starting a life in Sydney while still maintaining my connections with Dubai and Khartoum, my greater aim was (and still) to break out of the cultural bubble I had been living inside for my entire life up to that point, enrich my life views while use my new outsider’s view to challenge my old stories and conquer my own biases, or at least contain them. And while doing that, Sydney seemed to be a great platform to explore the Western cultural system. A system that I had always admired many of its values from distance, and wondered about others.

It is true that I have lived most of my life in various countries away from my country of birth- Sudan, but they were all within the widespread Arab-Muslim-Middle Eastern cultural system. And my frequent short trips to places around the world had failed to satisfy that exploration…



Ibrahim El Badawi

A storyteller, cultural adapter and innovation catalyst.