Age 17, Grade 12
Fordham High School for the Arts, Bronx
Art Teacher: Lisa Mota
Charcoal and acrylic on paper
I started high school thinking I knew everything there was to know about art. My art teacher and my peers have humbled me through their critiques of my work. Ms. Mota has introduced me to a wide variety of media. Since freshman year she has taken pictures of my completed projects, and when I look back at my work from three years ago, I'm astonished at how much I've progressed, and it's all thanks to Ms. Mota. Through her art history lessons I've expanded my artistic vocabulary. She has enabled me to create artwork that has not only an aesthetic appeal but also an underlying meaning.
The only family I had in America were my parents, siblings, and two cousins. I missed my grandma, other cousins, uncles, aunts, and my friends in Bangladesh. I was extremely homesick, and so I decided what better way to convey my thoughts than to incorporate them into my artwork. I used charcoal for my self-portrait and acrylic paint for the Bangladeshi flag. I placed the red circle to align with my birthmark to symbolize that my heritage is a part of me and that it will never change.
My teacher gave the class the task of making a conceptual piece using the prompt, "Inside the artist's mind." The greatest challenge that I faced while making Homesick was getting an idea from my mind onto paper. On top of that, I was not comfortable doing a self-portrait. To get more comfortable with my facial features, I decided to do multiple self-portraits. I noticed that I always altered certain features that I disliked. As time progressed, I got more comfortable with myself and decided that I could move on to the final work.
Seniors decide on a theme for independent projects to create a cohesive unit of work investigating that theme. This is a research-based unit of work requiring thought, creativity, and logic. Seniors wrote extensively and produced artist statements to accompany each piece. Nilufa has been struggling with creating expressive imagery for her personal story. This image came from a conceptual art challenge; students were asked to look into themselves for inspiration. The power of this piece comes from its size, the cropping of the face, and the story behind the woman's eyes. The odd placement of the green swipe of acrylic paint is mesmerizing. This was a turning point in Nilufa's artistic identity.