Fashion Design, Graphic Design and Interior Design are represented, and a cross-campus curatorial collaboration has provided the opportunity for a dynamic exchange of ideas. The result is an exhibition that celebrates the creative process and the achievements of each individual designer. “But it also highlights their shared connection to VCU, their drive to succeed, and their exciting professional journeys. This is what unites 6:3:1 as an exhibition and what, it is hoped, will inspire future design graduates of VCU,” says Caitlin Doherty, exhibition and speaker curator at VCUQatar.
The six alumni exhibiting their work are VCUQatar alumni Hamzah Abdelal, Nayla Ahmad Al-Mulla and Reem Al Thani and VCUarts alumni Donwan Harrell, Jung Kwon and Eleanor Barton.
Mixing Arabic calligraphy with digital art has become Abdelal’s trademark. Abdelal who graduated with a BFA in graphic design in 2011 says, “As a passionate Palestinian artist I seek to embody human rights values and the essence of freedom through digital art, a form of expression relatively new to the Middle Eastern region. Abdelal presently work as a designer at The Publishing Center at QF.
Class of 2008 fashion design graduate Al-Mulla’s first ready-to-wear collection showcased in the exhibition is used by her to explore the design and production process. “The intention of the collection is to start a conversation: an everyday garment that is comfortable and simple yet intriguing enough for a stranger to stop the wearer to compliment or inquire about the garment. Friendships can be made that way. I have learned a lot making this collection and look forward to many more,” she says. Al-Mulla currently works as alumni relations coordinator at VCUQatar.
Al-Thani, who graduated in 2010 with a double major in interior and fashion design, started working at Mathaf as an exhibition designer a month after graduating. She mentored under a senior designer from New York to design and implement the inaugural exhibition Sajjil: A Century in Modern Arab Art. “In almost three years at Mathaf, I have designed four exhibitions and implemented and managed seven. I have had the opportunity to work with notable professionals from all corners of the globe; each sharing with me their highly specialized skill-sets, as well as the invaluable industry experience they’ve garnered working in the competitive world of international design,” she says explaining her exhibit.
Harrell, who graduated in 1992 in fashion designer, is founder, designer and CEO of PRPS, his first luxury denim brand, based in America and Japan. “The values I absorbed at VCU encouraged me to consider an international career designing for companies like Nike. They gave me the courage to strike out alone and form PRPS, confident in my dream of artisanal jeans evoking Americana, fabricated with innovative Japanese processing and traditional hand-crafting.” He presents his current work, the PRPS’ Fall 2013 “Grizzly Adams” line; and his “Noir” line jeans in the exhibition.
Class of 2007 graphic design graduate Kwon believes in solving problems through thoughtful, intellectual and analytical process. “It is almost science applied in art. During the design process, I like to be very messy, hands on, open minded, provocative, observe possibilities and ask many questions. By contrast, however, I like my solutions to be simple, organized and intuitive.” His inspirations come from his surroundings and things he encounters on the streets on a daily basis. They come unexpectedly and from diverse sources he says.
Barton is presently senior associate, director of Interior Design Studio at Glave and Holmes Architecture in Richmond, Virginia. She graduated in 2004 from VCUarts in interior design. “Interior design is about people. It is their experience of a place and how well it serves their purposes that will be the measures of your design’s success. I believe in the power to change lives through the transformation of existing spaces and creation of new ones. With the help of my team, I’ve had the opportunity to work on a variety of project types with very diverse groups of users: from university faculty and student spaces, to cultural, religious, and historic interiors. It is truly a thrill when I visit a finished project and see the activity of people as they engage the interior and each other.”
‘6:3:1’ runs at the Gallery at VCUQatar until 25 April 2013. The event is open to the public. For more information, please visit www.qatar.vcu.edu or email VCUQatar Exhibitions and Speaker Curator Caitlin Doherty at firstname.lastname@example.org
The designers (L to R) Eleanor Barton, Hamzah Abdelal, Donwan Harrell, Jung Kwon and Nayla Ahmad Al-Mulla
Hamzah Abdelal’s with elements of both Arabic calligraphy and digital art showcased
Donwan Harrell’s “Grizzly Adams” line and “Noir” line jeans on display
Reem Al-Thani’s exhibition design piece in the foreground
Jung Kwon’s graphic design pieces in the foreground and Eleanor Barton’s work in the background
Nayla Ahmad Al-Mulla’s ready-to-wear line on the right and Eleanor Barton’s work on the left