By ERIN KIM
November’s artist of the month Hajar Azzam (Sr.) is currently studying AP Art History, AP Art Studio and Advanced Graphic Design.
Though Azzam first arrived to the United States two years ago with only a limited understanding of the English language, she is excelling at UHS, especially in her art courses. Ms. Dana Kramer (Visual and Performing Arts Dept.) recently nominated Azzam as November Artist of the Month to recognize her unique talents and creativity.
“What’s special about Hajar is that she’s not from the United States, but she’s always bringing in ideas from her own culture in her artwork so it’s really authentic,” said Kramer. Azzam demonstrates this cultural inspiration especially through her latest creation: a transformation of Disney princesses to Arab princesses. Azzam said, “I am here to represent [the beauty of] my culture and background.”
In addition to representing her culture, Azzam also represents other students at UHS. She is the mastermind behind some of UHS’s most popular apparel, such as this year’s “Live” sweatshirt. “Back when I was in the UAE, I always saw what other people designed and I always wanted to make items myself. [Since] I’m a student, I know what appeals to my peers the most,” said Azzam.
Art has been a lifelong passion since Azzam’s early years. “I started making art when I was four years old. I would watch animations, freeze the screen, and try to copy them.” She then turned to YouTube videos, Pinterest, and Instagram posts for further inspiration. Though art has always been Azzam’s creative outlet since her youth, it was only last year that she received formal instruction.
Taking graphic design finally allowed Azzam to ask questions and receive valuable answers from teachers and peers. “In an art class, I can just turn around in my chair and ask anyone what they think of my work and get an artistic response.”
Being around like-minded people has accelerated Azzam’s artistic growth. Kramer said,“Her hand drawings and her figure drawings are really building, and her ideas are becoming more concrete, so she’s now able to really execute them fully.”
Azzam strongly encourages those interested in art to follow their passions. “Don’t give yourself excuses for not learning art,” said Azzam. “Always try to find a way for yourself, and don’t let your circumstances or the people around you influence what you like and want to learn.”