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The Pavilion Downtown Dubai Senior Thesis Exhibition Visual Communication Department American University in Dubai November 28th 2011


Table of Contents

Opening statement..................................................................................................6 Aishah Al Bader......................................................................................................8 Sara Al Banna........................................................................................................14 Talal al Gergawi....................................................................................................20 Fatima Al Hubail...................................................................................................26 Shamsa Alabbar....................................................................................................32 Rodha Baker ....................................................................................................... 38 Moza Bin Bakhit ................................................................................................. 44 Monica Boghdadi ............................................................................................... 50 Adbullah Fatani .................................................................................................. 56 Reem Faqeha ...................................................................................................... 62 Ressan Habasla .................................................................................................. 68 Zainab Kariem .................................................................................................... 74 Dana Karzon ...................................................................................................... 80 Nabil Nasr .......................................................................................................... 86 Dinoop Sivaraj .................................................................................................... 92 Sandra Wasif ....................................................................................................... 98 Tayebeh Zarghami .............................................................................................104

I am honored to have the opportunity to work with the seventeen artists and designers exhibiting in “Wedha” this year. When I think about successful creative artwork, I acknowledge all the challenges and obstacles that were overcome in bringing that artwork to fruition. I think about young women that are finding their own creative voices, and expressing themselves against the odds. I think about all the challenges facing people, as they develop their own ideas and processes. I think about young men that are forming their own views about politics, about individuals’ rights, freedoms, and responsibilities, and what messages they are getting through different media, through popular culture. 6

Most importantly, I think about the value of hard work when I contemplate the designs and art shown at this exhibition. It is one thing to have an idea, to talk about that idea, even to worry about that idea. It is absolutely another thing, entirely, to struggle, and, through trial and error, over and over again, to finally arrive at a successful solution. It is about logging the hours, painting the wrong color, choosing the wrong typeface, working with the wrong material, and stepping back and adjusting, noticing, redefining, rethinking the original problem, getting others’ honest opinions…it is about struggle. Something that looks easy to the outside viewer rarely is easy for the artist to make. The artist succeeds when

‫سارة التي‬

Sarah Lahti

they make it look easy. And it never is. It is always a struggle. Today we see the work of a wide variety of nationalities, media, and disciplines: cartoony work, socially conscious photography, anthropological graphic design topics, painting with unusual found materials, time-lapse typographic videos, and everything in between. The value of this work lies simply in the fact that it ever successfully came into existence. The artwork itself is a trophy, or a prize, for having won the fight against the forces of entropy. A battle was fought inside each of these artists and designers, the central point of the battle: how to shut out everything else, the phone calls, the internet, the desire to sleep, the social life, the excuses,

the fears, the family, and just do the work, and do it well. On the eve of the United Arab Emirates’ 40th anniversary, I celebrate the accomplishments of these graduates of American University in Dubai’s Visual Communication class of 2012, I’m inspired by the work in this exhibition, and pleased to have been a part of the process.



‫عائشة البدر‬ Aishah Al Bader

In 2008, after completing two years at Kuwait University’s graphic design department, I had the opportunity to experience something new, studying abroad. I jumped the wagon and transferred to AUD. It was here where I learned of a major I thought was more appealing to my interest: creative advertising. Why limit myself with only graphics when I had the chance to get a combo, I thought, and it’s ended up being what I call a good move. I was born in Kuwait to a family that appreciates the arts. Inspiration started from early childhood, watching my aunt paint, my cousin sketch, my mother decorate, and endless sources of art inspiration. It was fashion that I had my eyes on, but life takes you

to unexpected places. I ended up in advertising and now I have my eyes on the fashion-advertising scene. Inspiration started within the family circle, and as I grew, it grew. Frequent travels, meeting people, attending events and the opportunities to see galleries around the world have all developed my style and creativity. All fields of interest to me are very competitive, and to achieve success, it is crucial that I keep a lookout for what’s new, and how it is changing.



Title: Interactive Advertising Fashion brands have been taking similar approaches to their advertising techniques. The usual celebrityendorsed print ad wearing what a brand wants to sell, but amongst all that clutter of ads within a magazine, especially the usual first page buyers, it is not an approach that will make your brand stand out. For my senior project I have come up with a creative approach to this monotonous problem. My way of jumping out of the box for a solution. An interactive series of fashion print ads and follow-ups

of in store giveaways carrying along the same interactive concept. Every fashionable woman has a fashionable girl inside her. Proof of that is the number of grown women that play Stardoll, a virtual doll with a big house and an enviable closet! Symphony Style is a trendy boutique with a young fresh concept that is perfect for this creative approach. Just in time for this project, Anna Della Russo will be in Dubai to celebrate the stores first birthday, and I was at the store camera in hand ready to create this ad 11


from scratch! This creative execution will be published following a set timeline to enhance effectiveness. The advertisements will first be issued in the Symphony magazine giving it exclusivity to the Symphony customer. The first time interaction of the new ad will lead to word-of-mouth resulting in new prospective clients going into the Symphony store to get hold of the magazine, which is printed in a limited amount and not sold anywhere! After the launch of the Symphony magazine in a few weeks and before wear out of the advertisements effect it will be

placed in Harpers Bazaar Arabia. This second stage will bring awareness to a broader market both within the UAE and the Middle East. Finally giveaways will be launched in store. With a certain number of purchases, customers get the Anna Dello Russo doll and the series of dresses featured in each of the three ads. Remember the days of dressing up paper dolls? You don’t have to remember them anymore; you can now find them in a magazine and dress the doll up with a different ensemble in every ad! 13


‫سارة البنى‬ Sara Al Banna

I am a twenty-one year old Palestinian photographer, born and raised in the U.A.E. I perceive myself as a lost soul, born at the wrong time, around the right people. I sometimes feel addicted to the people I love, and I consider this to be one of my major weaknesses. I changed my major three times, but ended up doing what I am mostly passionate about. My passion is the making of images; my inspirations are from art and my surroundings. However, I believe that inspiration is within oneself; it is almost as if it is born inside of us. However, it is our mission to pursue it to the next level. Art to me is emotional, whether it is visual or written, there is always more to a photograph than meets the

eye. Some of my commercial work has been published in magazines such as Timeout Dubai, Pose, and Ahlan. The following work was for a fashion campaign for a clothing brand called Reemami, the theme of the shoot was “dreamy far away land”. Therefore, I used projected images in the background, and set the foreground in a way to allow the viewer’s imagination to write the story.



Title: Self-Destruction Portraits To me, photographs are a series of thoughts and emotions. It is the least obvious photographs that interest me the most. Images do not always have to make sense. My photographs are most successful, I believe, when they evoke a sense of wonder and mystery; the human imagination embarks on an infinite adventure when looking at photographs. I like my photographs to give a feeling of a dreamy world that only exists in our imagination. I try to create those dreamy stills by projecting images in certain environments that

I perceive as having the right scenes and photographing them. I work with staged photography the most because I feel like it helps me actualize a scene from scratch. However, I’m always open to experimentation. My concept for my senior thesis work is self-destruction. I’m collaborating with a talented young make up artist called Nouf Aljahdhami, who has the skills to transform a normal face into a destructed one. The world nowadays may lead many of us to feeling claustrophobic, which 17


is my outlook for this project. The photographs emphasize the clutter of all the material things we constantly crave to have. Being surrounded by material things doesn’t usually make the person feel as good as they assume they will from the inside. It is an addiction of wanting more and more, yet not reaching the satisfaction level you crave for. It is almost an act, or a cover up of how people really feel. The series of images are a combination of glamour and destruction. The destroyed faces portray a vulnerable side of

people, which they try to disguise by living behind all the glamour and materialistic things. People tend to look for happiness in the wrong places, and end up destroying themselves without realizing the negative side effects.



‫طالل القرقاوي‬

Talal Al Gergawi

Hi my name is Talal Al Gergawi (as mentioned above) and I am an Emirati graphic designer. Although graphic design was not my first choice as a major when I had entered The American University in Dubai, I grew to come to terms with it. At my first semester in university, I was enrolled as a business student, which lasted for about two weeks until I realized that business was not something I wanted to study for the next four years. Back in high school, I was educated in a British curriculum (GCSE) school. Other than the required courses, we had three extra subjects that we could choose. The three subjects that I chose were history, science, and art. I enjoyed all three, but I only did well in one,

which was art. So after dropping out of the business major, I was a little puzzled about what I wanted to do for the next four years. I researched what other majors the university had to offer and I came across graphic design. At first, it sounded like artwork that was done on a computer. I enjoy art. I enjoy being on a computer. So I went with it. What is art to me? According to the contemporary train of thought, anything is art. Apparently.



Title: Your Present is Your Past There are many questions when it comes to time. What is time? Why does time’s consistency change in gravity or motion? Is time a dimension? What we view as time is only an illusion. Memory creates the illusion of the past. Present is created by perception of the present. Future is created from memories and experiences from the past. People and their perception of time are like giant CD’s, each with its own unique space capacity. Their lives and experiences are constantly going round and round, and being burnt

into their memory or space capacity. The CD starts burning as soon as they are born. It stops as soon as they are dead. The information burnt is the person’s past, which can be revisited by searching their memory. That information is private, and only the owner of the memory can access it. As for the laser, its the person’s present; quick, sharp, and always changing its position, and burning in the person’s experiences and memories. As for future, it is any event, or experience that has yet to be burnt on to the 23


CD. Of course when the CD finishes its position in the sentence. burning, it is also the end of the person’s time. They are consumed by the past and can no longer exist in the present. I chose to visually address the situation by making a video. I found the sentence ‘your present is your past’ to be an appropriate title for the piece. It sums up the video and the concept, and portrays what it is all about. Each word will have its own video, and in each video the word will be shown in a different method. Then, the word will vanish at a different speed according to 25


‫فاطمة الحبيل‬ Fatima Al Hubail

My name is Fatima Al Hubail and I’m a graphic design student. A little secret about myself is that I am claustrophobic; I have a fear of enclosed spaces such as elevators, small locked rooms, and small areas that have no windows. I know so many people who would’ve never guessed that I’m claustrophobic, but it still remains something that no one knows about, until now, of course. Although this issue has caused so many obstacles for me, I always aim to look at the bright side because I feel that I have to be as creative as possible in order to tackle it. The reason I try to connect my creativity to solving my problems is that graphic designers usually deal with problem solving on a daily basis.

I began several different majors during my time in AUD, including creative advertising and even business administration. Finally, I decided to major in graphic design. It took all that to realize that graphic design is what I wanted all along. I found it to be very challenging and I liked the idea of combining my past experiences with art to come up with great ideas. I chose this field because I think graphic design is very interesting, and I believe that, in order for a person to strive at something and reach their full potential, they must find it interesting.



Title: The Journey of a Claustrophobic My senior project consists of a book that I designed around my conceptclaustrophobia; the fear of being in enclosed areas. Ever since my childhood, I’ve been dealing with this problem and faced many heartaches throughout my life. Therefore, I thought that facing my fear and having my senior project revolve around it might actually help me get rid of it somehow. Also, I hope that dealing with something so personal would bring out the best in me. Because I carry such a fear with me every time

I get out of the house, I wouldn’t like to live another day worrying whether or not I will end up being in a tight space. My project serves as a platform for me to express my feelings about claustrophobia and to let others know how it feels. So many people neglect and underestimate the power of claustrophobia over me, and over others who suffer from it. Therefore, this book will shed light on how claustrophobics feel, keeping in mind that people may perceive it in different ways, since different 29


people fear different things. I chose this concept because, after I graduate, I will become an independent individual, and so I must rely on myself completely. Until I get rid of the fear I have, claustrophobia will impede my individual independence. The only way to eliminate my fear, for good, is to face it. Doing such a project would help me further understand and analyze claustrophobia and will convince me that it is all in my head and that it is illogical to fear such things. Tackling such a subject will also

help me look at it in a different light, and the way people react to it will help me understand that it is something that only I feel and that it may just be a figment of my imagination, rather than reality. Since there are many people who don’t even know that such a phobia exists, I hope to raise awareness about claustrophobia and to describe its effects. This may also encourage those who suffer from it to accept it, and realize that they’re not alone. We can all stand together and fight against claustrophobia 31


‫شمسة العبار‬ Shamsa Alabbar

I am a twenty-year-old Emirati graphic design student, and I’ll be graduating in the spring of 2012. I have a passion for fashion, vintage in particular. I love my city Dubai! I have a strong drive for creativity, and a positive spirit. My inspiration usually comes from the beautiful things around me, as I always try to find beauty in the most unusual places, like the bolts of fabrics in a small store in Satwa. I employ my culture and traditions in most of my work, mainly because it represents myself, and my values. After all, it will always be a part of who I am. Graphic design is a wanted field; if you’re a graphic designer, I believe you can be almost anything. Creating graphics is very interesting, and beautiful.

Although it is time consuming, and the pressure is high, it is definitely worth watching your work come to life. I love graphic design! I never knew what art really meant before I studied it. I thought that art was for specific people with specific skills. Maybe art used to be that way, but not anymore. Art is too big of a word to be defined, but if I try, I would say that art is creativity, beauty, and originality; there are no limits.



Title: Nagsha Graphic design is art and it is all around us; this is the key message of my project. A lot of people think that graphic design just means logos, brochures, layouts, computer art, and that’s it! I want to convey to people that graphic design can be used in anything and in any way. Like art, graphic design has no limitations! I’ve always loved creating patterns in my graphic work. Patterns are beautiful, they make the design much more interesting. Since the exhibition is close to the UAE’s national day, I used the word

‘celebration’ as my inspiration. Then these questions popped up in my head: How do we as Emiratis celebrate? What is a known symbol of celebration? I found the answer in ‘Henna’. Henna is a flowering plant used to dye skin, hair, and fingernails. Henna art is basically lovely patterns that adorn a woman’s hands and feet during times of celebration. Emiratis specifically use henna to celebrate Eid, and the weddings of loved ones. Henna patterns are based on elements that include: foliage, geometric shapes, 35


swirls, hash lines, and sometimes even abstract shapes. Henna patterns can be inspired by anything. My final piece is an installation in the form of a low-seating majlis. The majlis consists of elements of design using patterns I created. The brand name ‘Nagsha’ means pattern design in Arabic. Each letter in the logo is constructed of different Henna patterns that I designed myself. The installation is an eye opener; revealing to everyone that graphic design is not restricted to corporate/branding use, but it is actually all around us. 37


‫روضه باقر‬ Rodha Baker

My name is Rodha Baker and I am an Emirati student born and raised in the UAE my entire life. When I first decided to study graphic design, I was worried that I wouldn’t like it or succeed in it, but I completely fell in love with the major; I knew that this is what I’ve been looking for all along. I chose graphic design because I feel like I can express my ideas and thoughts visually, and enhance my own understanding. I believe that less is more; I always incorporate this concept into my projects and believe that simplicity is beauty. After I graduate, I would like to start my own business within this field, set goals to grow organically, and become successful in the world of graphic

design. I think art plays a massive role in today’s world; it certainly makes our life richer and more meaningful. Art allows me to be creative and helps me express myself freely. The greatest thing about art is that it is subjective and expressive; each and every person can have a different view or definition of art. Art could also be critical, debatable, and arguable; people could create something that is beautiful in one person’s eye, yet another person might find it unpleasant.





Title: The Truth Behind Bars For my senior project, my first option was to make a book portraying the heritage and traditions of the UAE. After much thought, I realized that it is too ordinary and safe. I am aiming for something extraordinary and different, something interesting that people might not know much about, or a topic that is not covered often; one that is full of meaning and emotion. I decided to create a booklet documenting the lives of young inmates who are serving time in UAE jails today. In my booklet, I will discuss what happens behind

bars, what crimes these teenagers committed, and how it has impacted their lives after they served their sentence. My goal is to educate people about this matter as I, myself, did not know the intensity of it. My booklet also includes exclusive interviews with inmates who are currently in jail, and released teenagers who served their time, to find out how their experiences have affected them. I am hoping to raise awareness about this growing issue and provide teenagers with real life examples that they can learn from. 41


By giving these teenagers an insight into the lives of others who act just like them, but who have been caught for breaking the law, it will open their eyes and make them respect and comply with the rules. Most teenagers think that they can get away with anything and never get caught for it, but eventually, justice will catch up to you.



‫موزه بن بخيت‬ Moza Bin Bakhit

My name is Moza Juma Bin Bakhit. Some people may think that my name derived from a banana, but actually, the name Moza comes from a unique black pearl. I think its funny how people translate my name in English and call me “banana friday” instead of Moza Juma. Since my school years, I have always wanted to be in the field of visual communication. Even though I didn’t have any background in art, I haven’t regretted my decision, because I wanted to improve my skills in graphic design and computer arts. It makes me think, realize, discover, and manipulate things around me. Graphic design has taught me patience, because the simplest thing you do will take you hours or days to finish. It took

me four and a half years to be where I am today, and for this reason I believe everyone has the ability to become an artist. I am happy with the person I have become, and the achievements I have accomplished during my time in college.



Title: Al Mubda’at Al Mubda’at Magazine is designed for all Emirati women designers and entrepreneurs, who have started working for themselves, by showcasing their capabilities and their talents. In other words, my main goal is to help these young artists gain recognition for what they do. I’ve managed to interview all of the designers, who come from the same cultural background, but have different ages, on what they plan to do in the long run, and also what they are currently in the process of doing. This magazine looks

mainly at the cultural values that each of these women share, but also shows how modern people in the United Arab Emirates can be. What inspired me to start this mini-magazine is the desire to show Emirati women’s opinions, in terms of the fashion industry, business, design work, and beauty sectors; as well as hearing their voices, and branding their names nationally or internationally by blending it with their cultural beliefs. The Emirati art culture didn’t used to be popular for women, however, I’ve managed to 47


expose it, and show their identity as creative individuals. Regarding the daily success of these women, it has encouraged me to start this magazine in the future and show my cultural values within it. Why did I work with Emirati women, specifically? Basically not all women in the UAE know how to present their talent, except a few, so I want the people in UAE to know what their citizens are capable of doing. What I hope to accomplish is my own style of magazine that can reflect with culture and modernity. About the

title, Almubda’at: the “at” or the “ta” in the word mubda`at in Arabic, is the whole layout of the book, I chose the word “ta” in the Arabic alphabet because it’s the open type of “T”. This is what differentiates between genders. As well as the diamond shape dots, I added them in my layout as it shows the importance of the dots in the Arabic language, to be specific, the Arabic calligraphy letters.



‫مونيكا بغدادي‬ Monica Boghdadi

My name is Monica and I am the eldest of triplets! Yes we are three girls, all born a minute apart on the 10th of January 1991. Being the person I am, I strive to make a difference in the world, and creative advertising is a very powerful tool in doing so. Also, I might know a thing or two about trying to stand out. Advertising requires dedication, patience, and intelligence, which are a few of my characteristics, and I believe I can contribute my skills and knowledge to benefit others as well as myself. As a fresh graduate from high school, I thought to myself, what is better than learning how to communicate effectively with others, especially in a multi-cultural society like that of Dubai. With good

communication comes cohesiveness, clarity, and positive results, therefore communication is key for any individual or business to grow and succeed. Throughout my education, I discovered that my perception of art was very general and rather ignorant. Whereas now I can gladly tell you what art is and how important it is in communication, which is an art on its own! In my world, art is everything! We are surrounded by art wherever we go, we may not be aware of it, but art plays a huge role in our daily lives. The chair you sit on, the cups you drink from, the car you drive in, the house you live in, the shoes you wear, the computer games you play, and much more, are all works of art. 51

The Pavilion Downtown Dubai Senior Thesis Exhibition Visual Communication Department American University in Dubai November 28th 2011


Title: Senior Catalogue- Wehda Since my degree is a mixture of both graphic design and marketing strategy, I believe that planning and designing the senior event works to my advantage, because my core strength lies within creative direction. In addition, I have also accepted the challenge of taking on the graphical side to it, which is a small part of the event, but plays a huge role in representing the senior class of 2012, my professor, and myself. Research and brainstorming play a huge role in designing my projects. I spend most

of my time trying to build a strong concept so that I am able to execute it as simply as possible, in order to send a clear and strong message. You can definitely see my personality traits and individual style in my designs. I wanted to use this opportunity to get myself as close to a real life working experience as possible. I knew it would be challenging because of certain aspects I have little control of, but I was willing to accept it and gain a great learning experience for the future. I had a lot of difficulties gathering all the required 53


information, and making those crucial design decisions. I learned to do what I needed to do in order to get the work done on time. This project has taught me a lot about time management, from planning the photoshoot schedule, to organizing the surveys, to arranging it altogether. Wehda is a senior thesis exhibition where students from different backgrounds and cultures all unite under one roof to display their work, and communicate their unique messages. I decided to keep the layout and colors simple and sophisticated in

order to allow the audience to focus on the content of the catalogue and also to make it easy on the eyes. Of course, there should also be an element of playfulness, and that is why I decided to make the photographs, as well as the title names appear lively.



‫عبداهلل فطاني‬ Abdullah Fatani

My name is Abdulla Fatani, I am twenty-two years old, and I come from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Here I am, after five years, about to graduate with a double major in advertising and graphic design from AUD. As I grew up, I watched many American television advertisements with my mother and I was greatly inspired by them. The quality of ads that I saw was incomparable to that of Middle Eastern television ads. This encouraged me to change the face of advertising in the Middle East. Having lived in Saudi Arabia, I wasn’t exposed much to art, but I was really captivated by cartoons and Japanese animation. When I came to AUD, I saw a variety of different artworks and art styles

from the past to the present, which opened my eyes to what art truly is. In my opinion, art is a means whereby people can express their emotions, ideas, and opinions on a subject matter, and show their creativity. My art style is usually minimalistic and to the point. I try my best to make people feel the artwork through sound, sight, or touch. My aspiration for the future is to expose Saudis to art so that they too can express themselves freely, and contribute to enhancing the advertising agencies in Saudi Arabia, so that they are able to compete against the best in the world.



Title: Abaya Extremism Specifically, my project aims to demonstrate the extremism that some Saudis feel towards women. But when dealing with such a delicate issue, one must approach it in a very abstract and non-offensive way. I tried to accomplish this by placing a woman, wearing a full veil, in an unusual situation that would make people question her behavior. Some situations that I illustrate are true and others are exaggerated to show how “extreme” extremism can get. I personally believe that such extremism

is irrational and does not resonate with Islam’s principles towards veiled women. Many of these extremists believe that it is reasonable to behave like this, and fail to consider changing their ways. For example, some men take their wives to a public beach and force them to cover up completely, when they can simply go to a private beach. This subject is something I have been meaning to tackle, because I feel as though extremism has been corrupting our lands for a long time, and will continue doing so, until 59


somebody takes a stand. I do not want people to mistakenly believe that I don’t encourage the principle of “hijab”, because I do. Rather, I want to show people that it isn’t sensible to take it to the extreme. I demonstrate such extremism by executing a series of photographs of a woman who is wearing the abaya and covering every part of her body. In these photographs, she is usually featured alone and in different places. What makes this interesting is that, since the woman’s face is covered, people don’t know

whether she is happy or sad, so they will have to presume what her emotion is in every photo. The photos also show that being in a fully covered abaya restricts women from doing regular day-to-day activities that everyone else takes part in. I am really glad that I have the opportunity to use art to communicate to the world what truly happens in my country.



‫ريم فقيه‬ Reem Faqeha

I’m a student in AUD, and I’m from Saudi Arabia, and my major is graphic design. I really love my major because it includes everything from sketching to graphics. Common uses of graphic design include identity (logos and branding), web sites, publications (magazines, newspapers, and books), advertisements and product packaging. For example, a product package might include a logo or other artwork, organized text, and pure design elements such as shapes and color which unify the piece. Composition is one of the most important features of graphic design, especially when using pre-existing materials or diverse elements. And what I love about graphic design is

that I can do whatever I want, I have a lot of choices. It was hard for me to understand my major in the beginning, but now that I have realized what it is, I feel that I can’t be anything but a graphic designer.



Title: The Fairy Princess This project is a children’s story book, I tried to give the book a bedoin flavor, and allow other children in the world a chance to see how they live. For example, they live in tents in the desert, and their transportation is camels and horses. The story is about a princess called Alia, and she falls in love with a guy called Khalid, that she’s seen in her dreams. She dreams that Khalid saved her from a tower, and then when she wakes up, she wants that dream to come true. So she goes on an adventure to make

Khalid fall in love with her; this story shows what lengths she goes to to make him fall in love with her. That is the central question that she is trying to find a solution for, but she made some bad choices to make her dream come true; the story shows that not everything you want comes true, some things are not meant to be, and that is the lesson for everyone. I tried to create a unique new idea by creating characters that are wearing abayas and kandooras, to give the spirit of the desert and how bedoin live. I wanted 65


to include some of the funny aspects of bedoin life, so the story isn’t boring, and is more interesting for the reader... and by mixing reality with cartoons, I think it will make it different than other childrens’ story books. I really worked hard in this story to make it different, and I hope it is successful.



‫رسان هبسلى‬

Ressan Habasla

Ressan Habasla is the product of a modern Kuwaiti upbringing, based on respect and equality. Raised by foxes and a variety of desert creatures, welltravelled and skilled in the art of living, Ressan strives to view the world with a different perspective. Art, according to him, does not limit itself to only the physical, but transcends to the abstract, and graduates to the metaphysical. War, change, and the loss of memories are the poignant themes in his work, and the materials used reflect his emotional state, and unconciously reveal his subconscious. He is always exploring new themes, and is influenced by new aquaintances, situations and personal strife. An enthusiastic gallery-frequenter, Ressan does not believe in placing a monetary

value on art, it is too personal and can not be seperated from the creator, which in return lowers the sentimental value of a piece. Being a child of the desert, Ressan’s aesthetic focuses on the beauty that can be created with the hand, and not with the use of foreign or mechanical tools. Isolation is also a major theme, since he tends to work best in solitude, and also thrives best hermit style.



Title: Untitled The art world is a fickle world, led by the people who aim to make a profit on the work they produce, who wear their heart on their sleeve for monetary benefits. I, in turn, aim to reverse this toxic cycle and pursue a kind of art which is dematerialized, and based on my own struggles, joy, and whichever mood I chose to convey at that particular moment. Is this a cliche? To this question, I answer, no. How can my paintings be seen by others the same way I see them, some carrying the tapestries of war, the deep-rooted

scars and prejudices that resulted from that particular event. For instance, the occasion in which my mother was carried out in front of me by Iraqi soldiers and taken to a room where unspeakable events happened. How can I get the same reaction from my viewer to the darkness and depravity of war, if they have lived in perpetual bliss? How do I bring the viewer into my abyss? However much I try, I can only aspire to project my messages with the mutual comprehension that I desire. My art is a very personal 71


and intimate subject to me, I cannot and will not part ways with these fragments of my life. Our memories were stolen from us on that terrible year, family pictures were destroyed, sentimental objects looted, along with the innocence we once harboured. Therefore I am forced to recreate out of retrospect, which offers me solace and rehabilitation. This is the true meaning of art.



‫زينب كريم‬ Zainab Kariem

My name is Zainab Kariem and I am twenty-two years old. Although I am from Pakistan, I have never lived there. I was born in Kuwait and came to the UAE a year later, and I have been living here since then. Originally I was studying to become a dentist; I was inspired by my dentist, Dr. Ken Young, the way he treated his patients and the relief they felt after the treatment. However, science was not easy and it was during high school, in a class called ‘Graphic Products’, where my interest in graphics and fine arts started to appear. Since then, I knew I wanted to continue studying in this field. Art is the perfect tool for communication and I find it to be very relaxing. When I create artworks, I release all my tension, fury, and joy onto whatever

it is I am creating, and my emotions are passed into the work. I am always creating artworks, even while I’m traveling, I need it. Its like breathing, I need art to live. When I can’t get my ideas through by conversation, a little illustration helps me convey my emotion and ideas. I love creating, sketching, painting, etc. I love art, and I want to learn more and excel in both practical and theoretical aspects of it. I like working big, and the bigger the better.



Title: Self Portraits I am in love with, and inspired by Japanese manga and anime, and I want to become a comic artist. During high school years I created comics based on the melodramatic events that happened almost everyday with classmates. I was part of the ‘The Weekly Newspaper’ club and was in charge of the entertainment field where I created comic strips based on the events, which everyone read and enjoyed. I was known as the ‘comic artist’ during the last year of high school

and everyone looked forward to my comic strips. The series that I am creating is an introduction to one of the main characters in a comic that I will create. These are a series of self portraits simplifying myself to a character based on manga art. I am capturing this character’s expressions and emotions.



The long rectangular artworks were inspired by Japanese landscape paintings done in long vertical strips. The impression of length, standing tall, and beauty is the idea behind the vertical boards. The extension of the neck is an inspiration from the Myanmar tribes, their tradition of women wearing rings around the necks to lengthen them; a long neck represents feminine beauty. Many artists have inspired me, Audrey Kawasaki, Aquirax Uno, Toshio Saeki, and Murakami Takashi. Their works

are based on manga art and each has a unique way of presenting it. Alberto Giacometti’s sculptural works are a great inspiration; the thin figures show direction and movement. All these motivated me to create this series. The paintings are on wood, and the sizes are 48 inches x 17 inches.



‫دانا كارزون‬ Dana Karzon

My name is Dana Karzon and I am a 21-year-old graphic design student from Palestine. I believe that art is the life of a painter hidden behind colors. It’s a dream that has been washed away with paint to show what life has gifted us. When I look at a piece of art, it takes me to a world I’ve never been to, to a territory I’ve never seen, and to a life I’ve never lived; it makes me want to immerse myself completely into it and be a part of it. Some pieces of art make me cry, others make me laugh, and most make me wonder how life looks like on the other side of the world. Red is my favorite color, and one that people actually associate me with. I already have my own business that is on its way to popularity. I own an online store called RedBerry (www. where I sell T-shirts, mugs, badges and many more. RedBerry was launched a year ago and will hopefully grow gradually over time, God willing.



Title: Red Berry My senior project is about my online store, RedBerry. Initially, I thought of organizing an event that could potentially popularize my website by designing a brochure, catalogue, and posters. I wanted to concentrate on how to advertise for my startup. However, I realized that, before doing so, I should have a “perfect” website that has no errors whatsoever. Thus, I decided to divert my focus towards enhancing my website by creating more designs for my T-shirts, adding more pages and products, and by including offers. I also plan

to organize the overall design of the website, ensure that it is consistent, and make it easy for people to see and surf through it. When I noticed that my website’s traffic increased from 20 visits per month to 312 visits, I gained confidence and felt that perfecting my website will retain current customers, and attract new ones, too. I also realized that word of mouth marketing is contributing greatly to the popularity of my website. I am currently focusing my efforts on my “limited edition” sections 83


such as Breast Cancer Awareness and the U.A.E.’s 40th National Day. Furthermore, I chose U.A.E.’s 40th National Day because it is one of the most important days in the U.A.E., and, since I was born and raised in Dubai, I would like to share the joy and celebrate the success of the 40th National Day with all the Emiratis. On another note, attempting to create new designs gives me the opportunity to see what every age group and gender likes, and what designs people generally prefer. I also like to see people’s reactions; before I publish the design

on my website, I sometimes make the design and send it to my website’s fans to receive feedback on their thoughts and opinions. I truly hope that the new look of the website will popularize RedBerry and that the upcoming event will be so successful that people will continue to talk about it days afterwards.



‫نبيل نصر‬ Nabil Nasr

It’s always much easier to describe others, but when it comes to oneself, even going on a head to head stare contest with a mirror uncovers no answers. As a graphic designer, I’m the solver of all problems, and my solution to this one is – “His name is Nabil Nasr, the first characteristics that jump out of him is his optimism! He’s active in the prospect of athletics and is always lurking for some enthusiasm. He leads a personal life revolving around the things he likes to do, and they may vary with the weather. Sometimes sitting in at home and owning noobs in online games with his buddies is as fulfilling as going out and grabbing some drinks with good company. All in all, I’d label him as an

adventurer.” – I haven’t blinked yet. I think I’m about to own the mirror. Too. I do what I love; I chose to be a graphic artist/designer because it grants me power. I find it powerful to come up with my own rules, and creating my very own reasoning behind them. I find it powerful that I have the ability to simply have an impact on the audience with an endless array of approaches. With that power, I feel freed from the clutches of theories and laws of reality, because in this field, each and every graphic designer is his own king.



Title: Character Design We all have our very own unique styles, whether we like it or not, we are bound to do something we are most comfortable with; it only makes sense. Now of course, we can try different styles along the way, and we can diversify, however, I believe it’s great to be a jack of all trades, but it sucks to be a master of none. In terms of design, my style revolves around high amounts of research, understanding, and being able to come up with creative solutions and clever reasoning. “Why” is the question I ask myself through

the whole process of designing. I believe it just simply makes the work stronger, even though the audience may not catch it, or understand it. In terms of illustrating, my style leans towards the sketchy side, it’s just the way I understand form. My hand creates what I observe and through the scribbles, I find ways to make sense of it and through practice, I am able to create decent coherent drawings. It feels natural, and I’m always satisfied with the result, or else I would redraw the whole thing over again! 89


In conclusion, I believe that art does takes me on a journey into an artist’s mind, while other times, it crafts a barrier for me to decipher in order to understand the message. Every piece has a message, be it a conscious or subconscious one; there is a reason for everything. Three characters will be introduced in this chapter. They will be the first three villains that play a vital role in the way the plot presents itself. First we have the Leader, or big boss of the company – “Brian aka The Future”. Next up, we have “The

Futures’ Defender, Twig”. Lastly but not least, “The Future’s Suppressor, SpyneStabber”.



‫دينوب سفاراج‬ Dinoop Sivaraj

Originally from India, I am a fine artist, freelance illustrator/graphic designer, and I will receive my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Advertising from the American University in Dubai (AUD) in 2012. As a science major in high school, I was looking for a new field to explore and was intrigued by the buzzing city of Dubai. I moved to Dubai to pursue my undergraduate studies and found my calling in the field of creative advertising. My penultimate aim in any work I create is to avoid being a slave to the ordinary, and this is what I strive to achieve. Creativity spawned by the necessity to break away from monotonous expressions of a feeling everyone can relate to is how I would

ideally define design. Design, every aspect of it, intrigues me. Simply put, I can’t see myself wanting to be in any other field. The intricacies of it, and the subtlety of adding an individual taste to ultimately connect to millions who can relate to the expressions emoted through design. It’s the challenge that drives me, the power to communicate ideas and expressions simply through a single image or a line, and doing that in a way that is unique and mine. Passion drives it; an inherent force to create has always been there in me, and it helps, because moving forward and bringing new ideas to the table is the key.



Title: Hercules and Hades 2011 For my senior project I decided to do a modern re-imagination exploring the mythology of Hercules and Hades. Growing up as a child, I was a great fan of comic books, mainly due to the artwork. It intrigued my visual senses and opened me up to a whole new world of possibilities. A great source of inspiration to me was the art of Alex Ross and Frank Miller. The iconic artwork created by them helped me realize the power of imagination, and in turn helped me visualize this project. The concept of imagining

characters, creating an existence for them, and binding it with a story line, which everyone in our generation can relate to, defines the very purpose of art and communication. My aim with this project would be to try and come up with visual solutions that would appeal to today’s generation of comic book lovers, summer blockbuster movie enthusiasts, and gaming fans. Hercules, being a well-known mythological figure, has been seen across comic books, television, and in movies countless times. 95


He is the son of Zeus, and is an Olympian God who possesses superhuman strength, durability, speed, reflexes, and he is partially immortal. What intrigued me is that he is considered to be a God, but he is also human. If such a person existed in today’s world, how would he be? In my interpretation Hercules is a benevolent and lonely person who grieves his wife’s (Megara) death. He feels guilty for being responsible for her death, and so he decides to fight Hades to repossess her soul. Hades rules the

dead, and has complete authority over them. He strictly forbade his subjects to leave his domain, and would become quite enraged when anyone tried to leave, or steal souls from his realm. Hades was traditionally shown as a terrifying elderly figure that represents all evil. In my interpretation, he would be young, good looking, and dynamic who can merge well in today’s society. He arises from the flames of hell and he can manipulate them into weapons, or any form he wishes.He truly is the malevolent antihero. 97


‫ساندرا واصف‬ Sandra Wasif

I’m a graphic design student very dedicated to what I do. I am passionate about art as well as my surroundings. I am a normal person who takes life as it comes. I’ve lived my whole life in Dubai, which made it easier for me to cooperate with people of various cultures and ethnic backgrounds. I’ve been very affected by the poverty and starvation all around the world, which is one of the issues I related my senior project to. I’m constantly updated with what’s happening around poor countries and their problems. I would do anything to help these people, and give them the support they need. I would define art as the imagination and creation of objects made in various ways depicting its meaning. Art

is not only painting and drawing yet it is also illustrating and perceiving the concept of the image. Communicating a message visually is the way I perceive art. If art never existed, then in my opinion, everything in life would be boring. Art is a way that makes me express every single thought or feeling or possibly even emotion. It puts me in my own bubble of thinking and also relaxation. If you portray your message without using words, art becomes visually appealing to look at and therefore, becomes part of your daily lifestyle.



Title: A Parallel World My concept is based on utopia- a perfect world that doesn’t exist, and if it did exist, then it is simply not utopia. Of the many things utopia can be, I’ve narrowed it down to the psychology of humans, specifically perception. We view people as a certain someone, but they perceive themselves differently. For example, if I meet a person who is constantly smiling, I would assume that he/she is happy and enjoys life, but what if I tried to dig deeper into his/her personality or character, I may find the negatives of them. In other

words, you can’t judge a book by its cover. My senior project is about how I perceive certain individuals, and how those specific individuals perceive themselves. I chose perception as my topic due to everyday emotions; we come across love, laughter, kindness, grief, greed, selfishness, hatred and so on. This is why I found it interesting to understand what is truly behind this vague mask people wear. I am executing this concept through a video and a catalogue.



The video will show the negative and positive scenarios of everyday life that we can relate to. However, the video will be constructed in an abstract manner, in order for every viewer to have their own perception; different from others’. I’m leaving it completely up to the viewer to perceive the video however they see it; this will capture the very essence of my concept. In my video, the shadow represents the true but unknown realities of that particular person. The shadow also portrays the negativity that this person

faces, and how it overpowers his/her thoughts. The catalogue will show the parallel world that I’m conveying; my perception of certain people versus their perception of themselves, in written descriptions. Translucent paper and a blurred effect is used to symbolize the unseen, or hidden emotions that you must dig deeper to find. I chose to use the color grey to suggest the uncertainty that lies between what is true and what is false.



‫طيبة ضرغامي‬ Tayebeh Zarghami

I am a TCK (Third Culture Kid), born to parents of different nationalities and lived in five countries. I feel as though I am a resident of the world. I don’t particularly feel I belong to a certain nation. I’m a graphic designer, more of an illustrator. The reason I chose to major in graphic design is because I can communicate better visually than verbally. Considering my mixed background, I am sometimes confused about my true identity. Art is a form of expression that allows me to express the madness, and celebrate the extraordinary creations. I would describe art simply as our international language before English. Art is just like a meditation process, you must first be aware of your trouble, then begin

to accept it, or heal it, until you are able to celebrate your individuality. We are all hurt someway, and there are various reasons behind it. We must find these gaps and heal them with art by expressing our inner thoughts and feelings. We should let it all out, and art is a great tool in making this healing process possible.



Title: Viviana’s Emotions Firstly, I chose my senior project according to my skills, which are illustration and drawing. The reason being, I’m not a big fan of computer and digital work. I then added a concept and a story to my illustrations. It is based on an autobiography of a girl who traveled a lot and experienced different emotional states, and finally she found a way to escape the difficulties of the past, and used art to heal herself. I captured these emotions and places, then I combined them to create a few pieces of emotional drawings followed by the thought

bubbles. Every one of us have had emotional ups and downs during our childhood or teenage years that has affected us in some way. Some people get over them and others are so hurt, that healing seems impossible. My aim is to remind people of their ability to self-heal, and the fact that they can move on and start a new life, leaving all the dark days behind them. Especially girls, who are more sensitive, and have a tendency to remember things for a longer period of time. 107


My senior project is a continuum of caricatures showing facial and body expressions from saddest to happiest. To create these caricatures, I had to use photo references to make sure that I created a variety of compositional poses. I took 500 full body photographs of myself, 200 of them portraying the saddest expressions, another 200 showing the happiest poses, and the remaining 100 were neutral looks. About the saddest one: Among the 200 sad poses I took, this one seemed to be the most extreme one because the character is sitting down, her hand gestures are showing grief, her face shows a lot of expression

as she screams with her eyes closed. This illustration has darker shadows, and a higher contrast compared to the final 10. I used more intense cross hatches and of course, a dark background. About the happiest one: Among the 200 happy poses I had in my photo reference book, I chose this one, which was originally shot by a high-speed camera, showing the model jumping in the air. I found it to be the happiest because her eyes are open wide, her hands are reaching out, her hair is floating in the air, her smile is big, and she is looking up towards the sky. To make it look happier and lighter I used a lightly dotted background. 109

This exhibition owes its conception from idea to finished product to the inspiring and passionate work of the artists and designers featured, as well as the faculty of the Visual Communication Department at American University in Dubai.

No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without written permission from the artists. The copyright of the text and images is held by their respective authors and artists. Catalogue design: Monica Boghdadi.

A very special thanks to Shamsa Al Abbar, and Yasmine Rasool, and everyone at The Pavilion, whose generous support made this exhibition possible. Thanks to Monica Boghdadi, for her tireless work, many sleepless nights, and patience creating this catalogue. Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

Printed in Dubai by Color Power Printing.

Wehda Exhibition  

Senior Thesis Show Visual Communication Department Graduating Class of 2012 American University in Dubai

Wehda Exhibition  

Senior Thesis Show Visual Communication Department Graduating Class of 2012 American University in Dubai