By Malvika Garia
Culture is a colorful way to express one’s heritage and identity. At American University of Sharjah, we believe that celebrating culture is not only an important way to educate our students about the deep history of the region, but also a means to keep it alive among the future generations.
This year the university decided to take a different approach towards celebrating culture and developed a creative desktop calendar that commemorates the achievements of great individuals from around the region and their significant influence in fields of arts, literature and sciences. The calendar celebrates individuals who have—through their extraordinary talents, dedication to their craft and their commitment to knowledge—carved a name for themselves on the canvas of history.
To know more about how this idea came about, we spoke to Hatim Al-Sharif, Senior Graphic Designer in the Office of Strategic Communications and Marketing at American University of Sharjah, who explained that the aim behind the calendar is “to not only deliver stories that remind one of the region’s great Arab and Islamic heritage but to give students role models to look up to while inspiring them to work harder and excel in their fields.” The calendar is the product of months of work that involved considerable brainstorming and intensive research to choose the right individuals—such as singer Umm Kulthum, physician Ibn al-Nafis and mathematician Al Khwarizmi to name a few—who are not only iconic personalities but also individuals who have made substantial contributions to the prosperity and name of the Arabian region.
A visual communication graduate of the AUS College of Architecture, Arts and Design, Al-Sharif explained that the aim of the project was to design artwork where he could connect the past with the present by merging digital illustrations of these icons with contemporary designs and watercolor backgrounds. He noted that this amalgamation of classical and modern art methods helped deliver an attractive end result of 12 different visual stories.
Al-Sharif emphasized that the project required working with his colleagues from the office’s content and creative teams to develop the right creative brief, and this inspired him to create unique themes for each icon’s background based on their fields of work.
While talking about his future plans and ideas for such creative efforts that help the university celebrate culture in an educational way, Al-Sharif explained that he plans on continuing to use culture elements as the focal point of such projects while infusing them with modern and digital creativity.
As for next year’s calendar, Al-Sharif said he is currently in the process of brainstorming ideas, but one of the possible ideas could be to focus on modern cultural legends.
Malvika Garia is a student at American University of Sharjah.
Visit www.aus.edu for more information about American University of Sharjah