Khadija first discovered her love of art when she took note of a picture drawn by her uncle. Inspired by the drawing, she took a pencil and a piece of paper to make a drawing of her own, and that was the beginning of her journey as an artist.
“Art is everything,” says Khadija, who is a Form 3 student at St Jude’s Girls’ Secondary School. “It has been a life-changer to me.”
Khadija is among the most talented art students at St Jude’s. Spending most of her free time in the art room, she enjoys bringing her imagination to reality and sharpening her skills with the different resources available.
“Khadija is very skilful with her hands,” says Mr Kephas, St Jude’s Art Teacher of eight years. “She is also very resourceful, always coming up with new ideas and inspirations.”
Khadija completed her primary education in a government school before receiving a scholarship to commence secondary school at St Jude’s.
In the Tanzanian education system, primary education is the first seven years of school; starting in Standard 1, students graduate primary education in Standard 7. The top performing students from government primary schools are invited to apply for a secondary school academic scholarship at St Jude’s.
Joining St Jude’s from a government school presented Khadija with an opportunity to explore and exercise her talents.
“St Jude’s is every artist’s dreamland,” says Khadija, “here you have a dedicated art room with resources and an arts teacher to guide you through all of it.”
Furthermore, at St Jude’s Khadija has access with plenty of resources in the library and on the internet, where she gets new ideas and inspiration for her art.
“One day, I stumbled upon a resource that showed how waste materials can be recycled to conserve the environment,” explains Khadija, “I started thinking of how we can make creative designs out of the materials being discarded at school.”
Khadija presented her idea to Mr Kephas, and the pair researched and developed a course of action for the project.
“Eventually, we decided to make flower pots out of recycled materials,” says Mr Kephas. “It is an interesting project because it uses the creativity of art to address environmental pollution.”
In this project, Khadija devised a way of turning worn-out clothes, paper, sand, and cement into beautiful flower pots. Working with a team of three other students, Khadija produced several flower pots of varying colours and designs.
These flower pots were showcased at St Jude’s annual Science Fair Day event, which saw Khadija’s invention claiming second place in her category and a handful of flower pots going on sale to St Jude’s staff.
“It was the proudest moment of my life!” says Khadija.
Another eye-catching project on the day at the fair was that of string art, made by a fellow art student, Zuhura.
String art uses coloured threads arranged in spectacular geometric patterns or designs. It has garnered popularity among emerging artists because of its colourful presentation of familiar objects.
Like Khadija, Zuhura credits St Jude’s holistic approach to education for helping her talent flourish.
“Art is expensive,” observes Zuhura. “Without St Jude’s facilities and resources, it would be impossible to develop my skills in art.”
Zuhura has also been able to extend her creativity beyond the studio art room by acquiring digital design skills through St Jude’s computer programme classes. for students.
“I want to be an architect when I’m older,” says Zuhura. “Learning design software early on will give me an edge in the pursuit of my career.”
Being at St Jude’s has exposed Khadija and Zuhura to the immense opportunities and practical applications of their talents. They not only see art as a hobby, but as a career, business, and tool that can be used to solve global problems with a touch of style.
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