Student sees her art as going against traditional standards of aesthetics
By Munira Alimire
Arts and Entertainment Editor
Ekhlas Abdullahi is a sophomore in high school and a part-time PSEO student who paints whenever she has a free moment.
“Since second grade, I’ve been sketching whenever I needed something to do with my hands. I’ve always had a bit of a low attention span at times — it was a great way to be productive,” she admitted, laughing a little.
She thinks of her art as working both as a representation for people who are traditionally overlooked and as opposition to the beauty standards we hold ourselves against.
“I see beauty in everything,” she said, “so I enjoy drawing objects and people who aren’t considered traditionally beautiful.”
Abdullahi hopes to inspire people who feel as if they are inadequate, incapable or unworthy because of the way they look, to learn to love and accept themselves.
“I once didn’t appreciate myself because I never saw anyone who looked like me. I hope that by sharing my art with others, they’ll be able to feel represented.”
Her desire for equality is reflected in her career interests — she’s taking a criminal justice course and is interested in the American legal system.
‘I’m most inspired by other powerful female artists of color, like Frida Kahlo, who doesn’t fit our ideals of beauty,” she said, “But with that, it shows her art to be all the more beautiful as we’ve removed ourselves from considering her merit to be her looks.”
When asked about her community of artists, she said it didn’t have many people who didn’t focus on merely aesthetic value, or they shared nothing in common. She shares her art with her friends in real life and online, as they understand the meaning behind her art.
She would one day like to have an art showcase where she can share both her visions for the future as well as her paintings.