dinsdag 15 december 2009

DAE Magazine - by Ingrid Swinkels

Where are you from?

I am originally from Afghanistan, where I lived until I was 14. Then I fled. My mother sent me to go with smugglers, just me. I was on my way for almost a year and I lived in Pakistan and Russia during my journey. I am now 25, and I have lived here for ten years now. It’s a whole new life.

Before coming to Design Academy Eindhoven, you were in a completely different education. Why did you decide to come to our academy?

I tried a couple of educations first, but I quit them before graduating. For instance a short training in security. I also worked in event planning for a while. In the meanwhile, I had all in the time in the world to think about what I really wanted to do. That’s when I found out that I was interested in a creative education. I was always sketching and drawing. An acquaintance told me that I had to have diploma in order to be admitted. So I did a short bookkeeping course, for which I could plan my own examinations. I managed to bring four years back to one, just to earn my diploma very quickly. And then I could finally come to DAE. I had applied already and I had had my portfolio examination. My first two portfolios were not good, I had only sent in sketches. At that time, I knew very little about the academy. I just knew I wanted to do something creative. As a child, I already made my own toys. But I wanted to pursue my creative ambitions in a professional way.

What do you find interesting and fun, here at the academy?

When I first came here, the academy seemed like some sort of ‘community’ to me. A group of people who all have their specific talents. I found that very nice to see. Every person is special. Outside DAE, well, that’s a completely different world. When you have a crazy idea in mind in that world, and you share it with someone, they will not take you seriously or tell you it’s impossible. At the academy, things are not like that at all. The people are different, too! You do not just find Dutch people here; they come from every kind of country, so you learn how to deal with other cultures. You learn a lot from that. And from each other. That’s the kind of thing I like about the academy.

Can you tell us about your culture and your background? How can you use them here?

As I told you, I am from Afghanistan. In our country, everything is still very traditional. Products are usually handmade by craftsmen. We also boast a rich culture of rituals and history. Just think of Alexander the Great and Djengiz Kahn. How I can make use of those elements at the academy? I know a lot about making artisanal products, for instance. The products that come from Afghanistan are usually things you use at home. In the kitchen, like carafes and stuff like that. We also have many carpets, of extremely good quality. And lately I have focused on our eating culture; I would like to work on that in the future. And I would also like to develop my international side, so it’s a bit of a mixture.

Would you like to look into food design?

I don’t know, yet. I am currently working on a project together with my mother. We are writing a book on the Afghan cuisine, on traditional food and traditional Afghan recipes, which we are collecting improving right now. We already made a small book about this subject, in collaboration with the Ariana Foundation(?), which helps female students in Afghanistan. The benefits of the cook book (Mother`s Dishes) will go to the children of Afghanistan.

What would you like to say to people who come from abroad and who also wish to study at the academy?

If you think you are creative, if you want to make something, and you have an idea in your head or a wish that you want to come true, this is the ideal school for it. Any idea you may have can be put into practice and developed here. The teachers know what they are talking about. All your ideas and wishes can come true. Creative things, but also projects like my book. Everything is possible.

Do you have any tips considering the admission and the portfolio?

My portfolio consisted merely of sketches. That was not how it should be, considering that DAE is a product oriented education. You also have to make many 3D products here. So use your portfolio to show your sense of making real 3D products. And your sense of color. Both are important for your portfolio.