An achiever's diary
Lujain Abu Al Faraj

Third-year American University of Sharjah visual communication student Lujain Abu Al Faraj is making a name for herself in the field of art. Using her culture, creativity and drive, Lujain took her success to international levels.

Making dreams come true

Lujain knew she wanted to be in the field of art since childhood. As she grew up and acquired greater freedom to choose her courses, Lujain always pursued the arts. From studio work to designs, she is slowly working her way up to a professional career in visual communication.

This year, Lujain demonstrated her success and determination outside the UAE. Memefest '08, an International Festival of Radical Communication held in Australia, was based on the theme 'Radical Beauty'. Asked to portray her perception of beauty in art form, Lujain said she instantly knew what she wanted to present.

Her artwork, an image of the Ka'aba in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, won her an honourable mention at the competition.

"Because this is an international competition, and because all religions are in favour of peace, I chose this image," she said. "Nowadays people sometimes link Islam to terrorism, so I want to change this picture about Islam and Muslims."

Changing perceptions

Lujain explained that her main goal was to change the perception of beauty, which has been "damaged by the media".

"People often relate beauty with physical appearance. Others claim that true beauty lies inside," she said. "In my opinion, radical beauty is serene. It is a deep spiritual connotation that is felt, not touched."

One of the main roles of art, Lujan explained, is to convey messages. What is beautiful about art is that it is up to the viewer to decide what message he or she perceives in it.

"There is already enough negativity in the world," Lujain said. "We need art that gives people a break from all this negativity and that portrays a form of hope."

A 'channel of emotions' is how Lujain describes art's main purpose. "Art comes in many different forms. Some art may require research, other artists draw from their own understandings and past experience," she said.

"Regardless, it will always reveal what you're feeling inside."

Words of wisdom

Lujain said she learned many things from this competition, things that you couldn't learn in a classroom.

"Believe in your work and do the best you can, despite what other people may tell you. I learned that is the key to success," she said. "Be persistent and determined in your work. As long as you're good at what you do, you'll find your way."

Future ambitions

Lujain said that her "realistic" future plans involve getting married and working at a reputable company where she can use her talent. Her true aspirations, however, are far deeper.

"I want to open my own boutique or restaurant that would feature my own work," she said. "That would be my ultimate dream."

Get to know...

Who: Lujain Abu Al Faraj
What: Third-year visual
communications student at the American University of Sharjah and international design competition honouree
Age: 20
Nationality: Saudi Arabian
Residence: ?????