By Malvika Garia
Using their creative abilities and ideas for the greater good, two students from American University of Sharjah (AUS) won recognition for their submissions to the Masar Student Creative Award for Print at the Dubai Lynx Festival 2016, which is an annual celebration of creativity and design in the region. Noor Garatli and Lynn Bizreh, both from the Department of Mass Communication at the College of Arts and Sciences, were awarded third and fifth place respectively for their creative posters which aim to increase attention towards pressing social issues like women and child abuse. The posters are stated to be used by the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children in their campaign efforts to combat domestic abuse.
While Garatli’s submission “Child Abuse is not Just Physical”, focussed on breaking the traditional train of thought that child abuse only translates to physical abuse, Bizreh’s poster “Touch them Only to Raise their Chin up”, aimed to highlight that positive connotation of touch in the symbolic sense of support and love that help children grow better. However, having a successful end result means having the right inspiration to start with and so we sat down with Garatli and Bizreh to find out what triggered the creativity behind their work. Garatli explained that she drew inspiration for her poster from the fact that various forms of child abuse such as mental and emotional abuse are neglected in this region’s culture. “What I found out was that such abuse does not only seriously damage a child’s cognitive and emotional development but also about 30% of abused and neglected children will later on abuse their own children and thus, continue the horrible cycle of abuse,” said Garatli.
Furthermore, Garatli explained that her poster focusses on simplicity of elements such as visuals as she wanted a straightforward way to portray the abuse against children, “especially in ways that one would not immediately think of it as abuse like shutting up a child, not allowing them to speak their minds or whenever they wanted to speak, ordering them not to talk about something horrible they have witnessed, these are all forms of subtle abuse that parents or adults in general most probably would not realize”.
On the other hand, Bizreh chose to research various forms of abuse to find inspiration for her work and narrowed it down to physical touch as it can be symbolic of both, good or bad actions. She wanted to convey the message that “adults should not touch or in other words abuse children. Instead, they should lift their chin up and be their backbone when they are feeling sad or when they are going through a tough time.”
Though their journey to this achievement was not easy as they had to overcome a number of challenges. Garatli and Bizreh both state that the most challenging part of the submissions was the visualization process of their ideas, working around deadlines and managing their time. But regardless of these challenges, both agreed that Dubai Lynx is an exciting experience for those interested in creativity and advertising at its best. Through their participation, they also want to encourage fellow AUSers to participate in activities such as creative brief pitches, ad and poster making competitions as well as attending workshops and professional talks given by the who’s who of the creative arts industry in the region.
Bizreh added that she, not only had the chance to participate in the Masar Student Creative Award for Print, but was also able to attend the Leo Burnett Dubai Lynx Academy, where she had first-hand experience of working under pressure like in a creative agency. This taught her a lot about working in a fast paced environment and learned how, when and what to compromise in order to deliver projects on time.
According to Gartali “Dubai Lynx is the Oscars of the advertising and marketing industry here” and that even though the event mainly focusses on the work of established agencies and professionals, “it is a wonderful experience to attend and meet key people in the industry as well as give out your resume for amazing job opportunities!”
Congratulations Noor Garatli and Lynn Bizreh for a job well done.
Malvika Garia is a student at American University of Sharjah.
Visit www.aus.edu for more information about American University of Sharjah