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Breaking Down Barriers: Mohammed Shareef

‘Life is better when you pursue your passions, no matter how different’

I was working towards a technical diploma that would make me an adequate fit to be a process engineer in petroleum and gas. What I would have much preferred, though, was working in Information Technology (IT), but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to pursue this.

What kept me going through my dull daily routine was my art. While I was getting my diploma, I had once accidentally downloaded a drawing app. During my free time, I began honing my art skills. I would draw between my classes, at home, and whenever I got the chance.

It was the bliss that I got from art, rather than my work, that made me realize I could not continue working in process operations. My biggest challenge was my family.

It’s a social stereotype that the arts and cultures are not ‘sustainable careers’; that they do not pay well enough for a man to have a decent life for himself or his family. Because of this, my family did not support my decision to pursue a career in arts. After fourth paragraph, credit under image @doha painter, InstagramCredit: @doha_painter, Instagram

My wife, however, was very supportive; and remains so to this day. She is an artist herself and understands where my passion and love for the work I do comes from. Just recently, we created coloring books together for a children’s event. I drew in the characters and she designed the book itself.

On top of that, I do have an active fan following on Instagram. I posted one of my graphic drawings and it caught people’s attention. My friends also helped; they would connect me with people who wanted personal projects for birthdays, events, and so on. It kept me going.

But I knew my skills were far from refined. I decided to apply to art school to really delve deep into this new area and get myself educated in the field I really wanted to be in.

Now, at the age of 24, I am a freshman at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar. After paragraph 8 when he talks about VCU Being surrounded by like-minded people has helped me further appreciate the arts. Nothing in our world looks complete without an artist’s touch on it. Brands, colors, music - everything is the work of an artistic mastermind.

As a society, we need to understand this and encourage it.

As Qataris, we pride ourselves in our culture and heritage - art is an integral part of this. We need to support more of our youth in pursuing their dreams and passions so we, as a country, can empower them to excel. We have a vibrant history that we need to preserve for our upcoming generations - whether that’s through traditional art like calligraphy, or more contemporary interpretations like digital graphics.