As a child, Kirina Dowrich used cardboard boxes to design and build houses, on her own, for her dolls. Now at 23, her talents and ideas have blossomed, and she hopes to transform people’s lives to make TT and the world a better place.
The UWI graduate is a fine artist, graphic artist and designer, and illustrator. She is self-employed and hopes to develop her part time-business, Kirina Dowrich Art & Design, at the family’s home in San Fernando.
Dowrich is a past student of St Joseph's Convent, San Fernando, where she studied modern studies and visual art for the CSEC examinations. She also pursued technical drawing (after school) as an additional subject.
At the CAPE level, she did literature, sociology, and Spanish. She gained full passes at both levels and in 2018, she obtained a bachelor of science degree in political science and a minor in social development policy and planning at UWI, St Augustine.
Some may not see how studies from secondary school to university connect, but Dowrich said they were a natural flow.
"It was one of the qualifying degrees to get in the masters programme for urban planning and design. My aim, then, was to do a post-graduate degree in urban planning and design, which is something I still deeply care about," she said.
Her passion for design has led her to make an adjustment to her plans for her master's, to the pursuit of interior design.
"Right now, I am passionate and very interested in interior design. I love arts, creativity and design. I draw, paint, and did bust sculptures," she said. She's currently doing a diploma in interior design online.
She's a fan of the work of Nate Berkus, an American interior designer, author, and television personality, who's been a regular guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
"But I do not focus on the popular ones. I searched designers online and on social media, and I connect to the ones whose work I like," she said.
Dowrich incorporates factors relating to marginalised groups, like with people with disabilities, in her designs to promote inclusion and accessibility to all.
She noted that in TT many existing buildings and other places do not have interior and exterior spaces to cater to people with disabilities.
"We (TT) need to pay extra attention to how we lay out the cities and towns, how we zone different types of places (residential and commercial) and how we enforce laws," she said.
"There is so much involved in planning such as creating green spaces in cities and rural areas. Other obvious things we must consider include traffic planning and bringing order to spaces. This makes it organised and more convenient for people to live."
Newsday featured her commentary article, Universal design for people with disabilities, earlier this month when she advocated for an inclusive society where equal opportunities exist for young and old and disabled and non-disabled people.
"The reason I wrote the article is because I wanted to use and share the knowledge that I learnt from my degree. One of the course's essential components was for us (students) hearing from people with disabilities. They shared their experiences," Dowrich said.
"One of the mantras we were taught was ‘It is nothing about them without them’. It was emphasised that we hear about their experiences from them."
The focus, she said, was not about the person’s disability. Instead, it was about different aspects of their lives.
Creativity and talent seem to run in the Dowrich family.
"I come from a creative and hardworking family. I am proud of them. They make a lot of things that seem impossible, possible. My grandfather, Learie Dowrich, and his brothers, including Hollis, had a Carnival band and made costumes in the 1960s. My aunt Michele is a singer/ musician and was a music teacher," Dowrich said.
"Over the years, she has had many concerts. Aunty Michele is very talented and successful in my eyes. Laura (another aunt) is an editor and senior journalist. My dad, Lance, is a senior manager at Caribbean Airlines. He is an artist and also a great writer."
Dowrich, always a go-getter, recently completed an auto CAD (computer-aided design and drafting software) course at Central Technology Centre in Chaguanas.
"I am learning about aspects of it such as the client brief, ongoing consultations and presenting floor plans and 3D visuals of how the spaces would look. To do these things, people use autoCAD, photoshop and other software."
She is currently pursuing a diploma in graphic and web design at the School of Practical Accounting. She also volunteers at the south-Trinidad based NGO, Art by Creative Design.
Her artwork has been featured in seven exhibitions, including one at the Rotunda Gallery at the Office of the Parliament for the International Women’s Day Exhibition. It ran from March 8 to 27.
She showcased her painting, Each for equal, the same name as the exhibition's theme.
Dowrich said she plans to continuously explore her creative side while being active in activities to make TT, and the world, a better place.