Rip-off or not: Nairobi’s Imaara Mall accused of stealing the work of a creative designer
The Imaara retail mall in Nairobi has been accused of copying the work of a Nigerian graphic designer-cum-photographer based in the United States.
The newly opened mall's external walls were painted with a style of art that closely resembles Temi Coker's designs on his Behance account.
Temi began creating his own unique design styles shortly after leaving Adobe in 2019. Since then, his designs have garnered a lot of attention, but he has been frustrated seeing his ideas getting copied – just recently, twice in just three weeks.
He began a Twitter thread to vent his frustrations and criticize the mall. He posted "the placements of their shapes show they literally copied and pasted my work…"
His followers on Twitter asked him to contact the mall's artist who executed the work, but Temi was unable to reach either the mall owner or the design contractor.
However, he continued to tweet on his handle, saying that he doesn't mind people being inspired by his ideas, but that they should use them to build their own.
The outcome of Temi’s accusation is unknown, but what we can learn from this event is that small or unknown creators may find it difficult to challenge bigger players who have plagiarized their work, and it is even more difficult when the dispute involves different jurisdictions. Hence, registering your work before sharing it with a third party provides an edge in the event of a dispute.