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Get to Know Me!

The Graduating Class of 2021

Graduating Class of 2021

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Graduating

Graphic Design

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Graduating

Interior Design

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Graduating

Painting and Printmaking

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Graduating

Fashion Design

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Graduating

MFA in Design

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Graduating

Interesting things happen when we hear the voices of our undergraduates and graduates 2021 at VCUarts Qatar. Look at our survey below.

Illustrations by Zainab Al-Shibani, Graphic Design ’21

#1: Are you planning to study abroad?

Yes: 31%         
No: 21%         
Don’t know yet: 48%

#2: Are you planning to start your own studio or work as a freelance?

Yes: 62%         
No: 2%         
Don’t know yet: 36%

#3: What is most valuable to you in your first job appointment?

Time: 16%         
Money: 16%         
Autonomy at work: 3%
Opportunities for growth: 53%
Location: 13%

#4: Do you define yourself as…

An Artist: 21%
A Designer: 62%
No label please: 19%
Still don’t know: 14%

#5: What kind of workplace culture are you looking for? Select the most important for you.

Feeling valued in all aspects of my work and life choice: 29%
Uniting around a common cause: 3%
Hungry for knowledge and innovation: 21%
Diversity and inclusion as priorities: 8%
Prestigious, well-respected and admired institution as key factors: 16%
Centering on transparency and trust: 8%
Grounded by mentorship, collaboration and camaraderie: 16%

#6: An Example of a text based poll question?

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#6: If you can be a superhero of the art/design world, who will you be?

Master of illusion – using powers to manipulate the space by making space within a space.
The political point of view from a women muslim khaliji perspective.

#7: How do you define success for yourself?

Success is reaching a point where a significant thing has ended, and a new one is about to start. No matter what the results are.
Success is to be able to create the things you love and be able to change the world as you progress your creativity.

– Nurul Amirah Binti Azlan, Graphic Design
@n.azlan.design
azlanna1.wixsite.com/escapism
qatar.vcu.edu/bfa-mfa-thesis-2021/nurul-azlan

#8: Among the teammates and collaborators, you've worked with in the last few years, who do you admire and why? #gratitude

  • Nathan Ross Davis and Mohammad Suleiman: both helped me to think like an artist and designer. I enjoyed every moment spent with them during the critique, and they can dive into our thoughts and understand what we think about the projects, then they manipulate us to track through their words.
  • I have worked with graphics students during sophomore year. I was always fond of graphics student work. A close friend of mine was in graphics and her ideas might seem out of the world or too insane for interior but one thing for sure she helped me recognize that weird designs or crazy artistic work can be done in interior design too, as we both were into similar topics and fanatic about fantasy style designs. It’s just that I need to stop hiding it and showcase it proudly.
  • Dj moe
  • Professor Mohammad because despite the hard work he pushes me to do, he always inspired me to thrive more.
  • My nice classmates and my respectful professors
  • Dana Al Marri: I love her creativity and thinking process. it’s very different compared to my other classmates.
  • Nour Al Areed: Since I started my journey in Interior design, she was the right person to motivate me and critique my work, even though she scares me close to the last minute of the deadline, but she always makes me believe that I can do it.
  • Zainab Al-Shibani and Latifa Al-Sulaiti: Amazing friends, designers and classmates. I am very proud of their progress and their dedication to their work and every day they inspire me to become a better version of myself by just looking at their passionate souls.
  • Two of my classmates that are really passionate about the topic of gender equality.
  • I admire hard-working people who put their effort on working.
  • Aia Zaina (IDES 2021): I really appreciate her work ethic. She is so organized and hardworking and she takes her responsibilities seriously.
  • Haya Alhetmi works on time, we work together as a group, and each of us takes 50% of the work to be completed. Very professional.
  • My two classmates named Zainab and Izza. They are very admirable, creative, and outspoken. I aspire to be like them and to make myself into a better designer.
  • My group for the Wellbeing Course (taught by professors Byrad Yyelland and Peter Martin). First time to not have a toxic, competitive/lazy group. We bounded, had fun and understood/critiqued each other in the most non-toxic way possible.

#8: When was the first time that you remember realizing that you were a creative person?

When I created an art piece that challenged the ‘table-ness’ of a table.
My love for learning & sharing stories through different mediums.

#9: What was the last advice you gave to someone?

Build a good relationship with time so you won’t get screwed.
You design your own reality.

#9: What is your creative obsession?

Anything vintage

– Safa Al-Hadithi, Fashion Design
qatar.vcu.edu/bfa-mfa-thesis-2021/safa-al-hadithi

Infusing political concerns in art

#10: Where is your inspiration spot in Doha?

Alwakra Port
The Desert and nature on a microscopic level

#11: What do you believe you can achieve in Doha personally or professionally that you can't anywhere else in the world?

  • You can create an impact on society’s behavior so easily because of the connections and scale of Qatar.
  • Due to the development of the country/the fact that it’s small, having a well-known name and making a change in it is much more realistic.
  • Consumerism
  • Designer are appreciated.
  • Artwork and design that supports my beliefs.
  • Diversityyyyy
  • I feel like, in work, our majors are really needed in Qatar.
  • Being put in higher positions
  • Participate in galleries. I find many museums and art galleries look for Qatari/Local designers and are honored to exhibit their work.
  • I want to leave VCUarts Qatar and Doha with a mark that enables opportunities for others. E.g: I’ve started conversations on Third Culture Kids and many of us are realizing our true potential. I’d also want to be one of the blueprints for Third Culture Kids creatives in Doha.
  • Starting an art business that can be successful quickly.
  • Physical safety
  • I think I can achieve a lot, but to me, I believe it’s more challenging here because of copyright issues, etc. But still, I can succeed in having the best education and, most importantly, creating a local graphic design agency that would start locally and transition into international.
  • Having a successful business (it is doable, but it’s easier here)
  • Third Culture Kids to be given more opportunities to create a mark on the art scene because they are a part of the Qatari culture.
  • By having an impact on changing how Qatar utilizes their creative young talents who have a lot to offer.
  • I don’t know.

#12: How can the art and design world be more inclusive?

By remembering that “authenticity” is not surface level. It is deep, layered, and often can’t be summarized in a single image/product.
By opening the door to more diverse perspectives on the value of art and design outside of commercial and tourist interests.

#13: If you were in a conversation with someone that does not think Art + Design is a serious career, what would you say to him/her to change their opinion?

I would make him experience two different spaces (bad and good design) and ask how he felt in each, then say: “Well that’s what we do, provide you with the experience that is needed for your physical and mental wellbeing”.
Art is soft power, just like media and TV, you don’t recognize its effects until years after. Every career path has its role in the community, art is the soul of that community.

– Maryam Almuhannadi, Painting and Printmaking
mryamalmohanadi.com
qatar.vcu.edu/bfa-mfa-thesis-2021/maryam-al-muhannadi

I would ask them to imagine a world without music or beauty and to then tell me how much they would really like living there.

#14: What do you hope will be different about the art and design scene in Doha, compared to now?

  • I hope that Doha will be known for being the home of many notable artists and of creative freedom.
  • Place more importance on it, on the respect it deserves.
  • People show more value to what designers and artists produce.
  • I hope for the coming students a better environment in terms of the interior of the school building.
  • It will be less complicated and less exhausting.
  • Will have the same importance as other majors.
  • More chances for designers to show their creativity especially in government work spaces since their interior designs are bought from big design firms around the world.
  • I am noticing a major rise in appreciating art and design in Doha and the attention that is given to designers like me. I am hoping it continues to be like this and develops even more.
  • More of a spotlight on the real artists/designers (the people who actually have knowledge on what they’re doing) rather than the people who are famous just for the amount of followers they have on social media.
  • For real artists and designers to emerge and stop giving attention to wannabe artists
  • Supporting other artists, and not only focusing on one but also having more spaces for designers to work in, that show their major work, and not just doing brochures.
  • To be taken more seriously.
  • More innovation with design combining with different cultures background/ideas but still keeping Doha culture.
  • To provide more opportunities for graduates who want to find jobs, mentorship and so on.
  • Less focus on aesthetics and more focus on human experience, emotions and behavior.
  • Third Culture Kids to be given more opportunities to create a mark on the art scene because they are a part of the Qatari culture.
  • More diverse, conceptual, driven pieces and exhibitions.

#14: Name an art or design-related Instagram account you highly recommend to follow, and why?

@avant.arte because it is an account with different artists’ work that shows how art is developed into sculptures and paintings. It makes it more accessible for people to know and visualize others’ creativity.
@type01_

#15: What was the last thing you nerded out on?

The individuals actions, and how they’re oriented around objects in everyday life.
My plants. In every social event.

#16: What’s the difference between an artist/designer who’s great versus one who’s outstanding?

Artists who are great are artists who are great at certain topics. Whereas an artist who is outstanding is able to improve and makes changes for themselves and their environment and focuses all their efforts in order to find growth.
Outstanding is when the artist/designer can make you feel the design/art you observe. When you feel a reaction to the work. But it will depend, not all people will see the same thing as outstanding.

#17: Name a life-changing art work or design: If you can meet your favorite artist or designer, what question will you ask him/her?

Anish Kapoor’s work ‘Svayambh’. I would just ask him about his process when coming up with different ideas. What aspects does he think of first? Whether it looks visually pleasing, whether it is understandable or, whether the engineers are able to build it and so on.
MONA HATOUM

– Safa Al-Hadithi, Fashion Design
qatar.vcu.edu/bfa-mfa-thesis-2021/safa-al-hadithi

#18: What is a question that you wish we had asked?

Art is a tool and media that can be used in everything – how will we use this tool in the future and what work will we create? As we are now seeking diversity – we should also seek it through our major.

– Safa Al-Hadithi, Fashion Design
qatar.vcu.edu/bfa-mfa-thesis-2021/safa-al-hadithi

If I am okay
Anonymous

#15: What's one part of the university’s culture that you hope to bring to your next work environment?

  • Collaboration and interaction with people
  • Being able to collaborate with other fields like graphic design or fashion or painting.
  • Community / Collaboration
  • The bond between us in the studio and honesty
  • How each student is helping the other (win-win theory)
  • Motivation
  • Back and forth discussions on how to improve work
  • Caring environment
  • Being responsible
  • The casual part of working
  • Clear, direct communication
  • Collaborations and contributions in work
  • Collaboration!
  • Diversity
  • The very close relationship we have with the staff and professors

#16: What aspect of design/art do you give the highest priority to?

  • The meaning behind my design is my highest priority.
  • Functionality and curves
  • Process
  • Aesthetic aspect
  • Quality
  • Why I am doing this
  • It being functional and looking good.
  • Typography for sure-specifically Arabic type.
  • Playing & being life-long learners
  • Simplicity
  • Authenticity
  • Activism
  • Execution/Final outcome
  • Innovation and systems also UI/UX design
  • I think my highest priority is delivering a message.
  • Process, it brings out more ideas throughout time.
  • Communications and self-expression
  • I’m not sure.

#17: What is your favorite part about being an artist or designer?

  • Creating an environment that fits a certain character. I majored in interior design but I did some graphics posters and backgrounds which I enjoyed.
  • We have the ability to design or impact on what the future can be.
  • Favorite part is being able to break rules and using it as a mode of expression.
  • The way my brain functions differently and the fact I could work through pain.
    Understanding the process of design and applying it to real-life tasks
  • Freedom to create my own artwork
  • Looking at things differently
  • Problem solving
  • Designing the spaces around me. I was never satisfied with the interior of my old house.
  • The opportunity to meet, and work, with many amazing designers and artists. Very exciting.
  • It gives you a completely different perspective of the world. You can enter another’s realm of reality!
  • Doing everything out of love even if it’s stressful.
  • Telling stories
  • The process of working on a concept and turning it into a physical object
  • Being broad
  • Being able to communicate with others and also being able to articulate what
  • I have in my head and make them as things, products, websites etc.
  • The challenge in everything. From solving a problem to what font I should I use.
  • I have the skills to make something impactful or a life-changing environment.
  • Being able to bring joy, positivity and happiness to people. Really everything is extremely depressing.

Important note:
We did a survey of all the VCUarts Qatar senior students in our design programs (Fashion Design, Graphic Design, Interior Design and Painting and Printmaking) and in our MFA in Design program. We asked them about their post-graduation plans and asked them to share their ideas on their studies and on their futures, even asking them what superhero they’d like to be. The survey was voluntary, and we were fortunate to have a great response: of the 68 students surveyed, an astonishing 44 (64%) responded. The responses reflect just how important VCUarts Qatar and its education were to the students and provides rich and practical insights about students’ expectations about their future professional life.

Illustrations by Zainab Al Shibani

Zainab Al Shibani is an senior student at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar. As a graphic designer, she is passionate about creating outcomes that promote connection and conversation. Currently, as part of her thesis project, Zainab is putting together arabic lettering pieces that showcase the many potential forms of the arabic script. She is currently the Graphic Designer – Special Projects at The Gallery.

@zainabnalshibani
zainabnalshibani.com
gallery.qatar.vcu.edu/zainab-al-shibani-pick-series-2021
qatar.vcu.edu/bfa-mfa-thesis-2021/zainab-al-shibani

ISSUE No.
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The RAW Talent

MAY-AUG
2021
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