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Friday 24 May 2019
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Student sells art to pay for education

Sarah Ali and her masterpiece “Imperium Chroma de Musical”
Sarah Ali and her masterpiece “Imperium Chroma de Musical”

YOUNG artist Sarah Ali recently held a private art exhibition at Palm Foundation in Woodbrook, at which she put up for sale 15 pieces of art and six silk scarves to help pay for her tertiary education.

All the pieces, silks included, were sold-out on the night, with the exception of the largest.

The outgoing head girl at Bishop Anstey High School, Ali said, “I cannot even begin to describe my surprise at finding out that so many people wanted to buy my pieces. When I saw those orange ‘sold’ stickers going up next to the pieces I was in awe. I felt so blessed to know that my gift from God was being admired by so many people. I also felt incredibly empowered, as if a young artist as myself could host such a successful first exhibition, then I could do anything, and I could encourage young people like myself to take that leap of faith and share their talents with the world.

Can You See Me

“The biggest thing this exhibition taught me was that if you just have faith God will make all things happen.”

Ali got a partial scholarship to attend the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) to do biomedical engineering. But the fees are high and though the $20,000 raised so far from the sale of her art pieces will help, she is hoping that her biggest piece, Imperium Chroma de Musical, will be sold before she leaves on August 2.

Asked if she hopes for an additional scholarship from the government, Ali said, “I have given my all in my CAPE exams, so yes, I am praying for a government scholarship. It would make things a lot easier for my family. I come from a single-parent family so a scholarship would take a huge load off my mom’s shoulders. I am just hoping that the work that I put in would be enough to allow me to receive such an honour.”

Ali got the international scholarship on the basis of her SAT scores: she did the SATs right before her Unit 1 exams for CAPE in 2017.

The Joy of the Lord

The scholarship is only awarded to top-performing international students. The engineering programme for which she got the scholarship is for four years, but can be reduced depending on how well she performs in her CAPE exams. Those results are expected to be released next month, and Ali says she is anxiously awaiting them with fingers crossed.

Noting that what she is going to study at tertiary level is so different from her art, Ali explained, “Art is my way of relaxing and stepping away from the chaos that is the world we live in.

“I am studying biomedical engineering, however, because science is my passion. My goal is to enter the field of cancer care, treatment and research. My eyes are set on improving the care of cancer patients, specifically in TT.”

Sarah Ali gives her mom Rhonda Spring a hug

Ali said both her grandfather and godmother recently died because they could not access top-notch care and said she wants to help people like them and their families.

But as far as her art is concerned, she said, “I can never stop painting and sculpting. I have always done art alongside my STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects; art was my extra subject for both CSEC and CAPE. I had to balance all of my science classes during school hours, then paint when I got home and whenever I found free time. I made time for it because it helped me to de-stress and relax. So no fear, this will not be my only art show. There is more in store.

“Also, my artistic talent will allow me to add a creative spin on new ideas to treat cancer.”

Ali placed fourth on the CSEC Visual Arts Regional Merit List in 2016, seventh on the CAPE Visual Arts Regional Merit List in 2016 for Unit 1, was named Women in Art’s Artist of the Year for 2017, was Bishop Anstey head girl 2017-2018 and an altar server for seven years at St Michael and All Angels’ Anglican Parish in Diamond Vale.

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