My name is Samiya Younis and I am a Fine Art Sculpture graduate from the University of the Arts London. In October 2017 I will be starting my 2 year full time Masters Degree at RCA in Fine Art Sculpture. This is a dream come true for me.
Out of over 500 applicants who applied for a place on this course I was one of 50 who got accepted. This is a significant achievement.
By undertaking this degree I will have the chance to continue developing my art practice, reach a wider audience with my work and subject matter, potentially help make a different to other women's lives. My work is based on exploring my own identity and cultural displacement, inequalities between men and women within the Pakistani cultural traditions, how women are oppressed and repressed.
This degree has the potential to expand my skills, knowledge, and network and open various opportunities for me within the arts industry. As a first generation British born Pakistani female from an orthodox Muslim family where being born female was seen as a disappointment. I have fought for my right to independence and education to purse a career within the arts. I can set an example and help pave the way for other women like me to purse their dreams within the arts - an unconventional subject for a woman within my culture.
For this degree I am required to pay a £20,000 fee for the two years of study. I have applied for a Postgraduate Loan for the maximum amount of £10,000 but because my course is two years long the loan in broken down into two payments - £5,000 for each year. This is not enough to cover my fees and I have exhausted all other avenues.
I am asking you for your support in helping me to achieve my goal of completing my studies at the RCA. I have fought all my life for my independence and a chance to study at this University is a potentially life changing opportunity.
Being based in London has given me many opportunities so far. I have recently successfully completed my BA (Hons) in Fine Art: Sculpture at UAL graduating with a 1st class honours degree.
However being based in London has also presented difficulties in terms of living, financing my education and being successful as an artist. With this in mind I believe that completing my Masters degree at the RCA will be the springboard that will help to kickstart my career in an industry that remains so inaccessible to so many young creative women like myself, as I will have the opportunity to showcase my work to a wide audience in a world renowned University
For my upcoming degree at the RCA I aim to continue to push my creativity and expand on the themes of my graduate dissertation about deconstructing female oppression and cultural identity. Through my work I hope to provide a voice, dialogue and a platform to incite change.
Have you tried to raise any of this money for yourself?
I have tried to save as much as I can without any support from family and friends. I recently sold a few pieces of work during my first solo exhibition which I had organised and curated.
Even before I finished my BA I was working part time in retail during term time and full time during holidays, and as a student ambassador for my university. Since graduating I have worked consistently to earn and save money for my Masters. But still this is no where near enough, help is still required in order for me to be able to reach my £10000 goal.
What have you achieved in your Fine art career so far?
In 2016 I proposed a project for a residency at Portland Sculpture and Quarry Trust, in Dorset London, and was successful. I spent a week carving and creating work which I then showcased in my first solo exhibition. This year my work was selected for two group exhibitions. One titled 'The Currents of Identity' at the Crypt Gallery, Euston, London and the other part of a larger show in China at the Gallery of the College of Arts, Huabei University of Science and Technology, Tangshan,China. This exhibition was titled 'To be Continued…..' Most recently I was awarded a Mead Fellowship supported by University of the Arts London and Scott Mead. I received funding for my proposed art project using art as a form of release and empowerment with participants from a women's refuge.
I graduated in July 2017 with a BA Honours in Fine Art: Sculpture from University of the Arts London. Alongside this at the start of my BA in 2015 I was part of an interview conducted on female students by UAL on what it means to be female from…..in my case a Pakistani background. I shared my personal story behind my art. In 2016 I had an exclusive interview with UAL about my most recent solo exhibition, this was featured on their online website and social media channels. In the same year I have had work published in ST.ART, MIND X BODY, Printed Zine Magazine, Edition No.10, St Andrews, Scotland and Decoding Masculinity: A conversation on Race, Gender and Religion’, Shades of Noir,Printed Zine, London. Even with all of my previous experience the fine art industry is still extremely hard to get into and my journey through fine art has been challenging and very difficult at times, but I have remained motivated, passionate and determined to achieve my career goals and fully establish myself as an artist and activist.
This has been my journey so far and I am ready to move onto the next stage of my education and career I have not yet reached my full potential and I still have so much more that I wish to learn I just require your help to make a start.
All donations are welcome, no amount is too small.