Lessons on hopes, purpose and dreams from fresh graduates

Lessons on hopes, purpose and dreams from fresh graduates

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Five fresh graduates from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) share how they are doing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For a start, they have embraced an online graduation showcase.

Student Zoelle Chan, 20, who is graduating with a diploma in design (interior and exhibition), says: “Even though I’m devastated that we aren’t able to attend the showcase physically, I’m still grateful that members of the public can view my work online.”

The digital showcase, which starts on 8 July, will include live programmes and videos that shine a light on the graduands’ work and talents.

Read on and be inspired by five graduates from NAFA’s School of Art and Design who are keeping their hopes and dreams alive in these tough times.

nirmaitaa mohan

Mohan Nirmitaa, 20, Diploma in Design (Furniture and Spatial)
What gives you hope in this time as a fresh graduate of your programme?
People who respect and value good design. There is a place in the world for passionate people who desire to create innovative designs that benefit people. There is also a definite demand for creativity and the positive impact it has on the world. These things keep me striving for more.

What are you looking forward to?
I am an enthusiastic learner and I am keen to explore the field of furniture design. I would like to gain more knowledge in the fields of materials research and production methods. I greatly admire craftsmanship and would love to improve my skills as a woodworker.

Andrea goh

Andrea Goh, 25, BA (Hons) in Design and Media
What are you thankful for this time?
The opportunity to learn and seek growth. I’ve honed my skills as an art director, explored my style of art and refined my aesthetic as a designer.

What are you looking forward to?
It may be difficult to find a job in this current climate due to the impact of COVID-19, but I’m staying positive and hope to land a job as an art director. My greatest fear is to stagnate, so I want to continue to learn new things and grow. Ultimately, the end goal is to own my own studio and take part in artist residencies around the world.

max tan

Max Tan, 35, BA (Hons) Fashion
What made you take up your course of study?
I graduated from NAFA in 2006 with a diploma (distinction) in fashion design. Heading back to NAFA to do my bachelor’s came naturally after having set up my eponymous label and taught as an adjunct lecturer at NAFA over the past decade.

What are you looking forward to after you graduate?
I hope to inject a new breath of life into my label and have it flourish into a Singaporean fashion label that questions, challenges and importantly, inspire generations to come. I’m very excited to expand my graduation collection into a full retail line for Spring/Summer ‘21.

Quek jia yi

Quek Jia Yi, 20, Diploma in Fine Art
What are you thankful for in this time?
I had to do home-based learning, but my friends and lecturers have been very helpful and supportive during this period. The situation has challenged me to be adaptable, to problem-solve and to stay creative.

What are you looking forward to?
I would love to establish my own school for people with special needs in the future. I have an interest in art therapy and I would like to pursue a bachelor’s in psychology, as well as a master’s in art therapy.

zoelle chan

Zoelle Chan, 20, Diploma in Design (Interior and Exhibition)
What are you looking forward to after you graduate?
I’m uncertain and playing it by ear for now because there’s no telling how long this pandemic will drag on. The Class of 2020 graduates from every institution across the world won’t have it easy.

What gives you hope in this time as an arts graduate?
The arts is a very flexible discipline. I don’t have to be in a studio to be able to create. Art transcends physical spaces and we’re seeing more of it in the digital space. During this period of uncertainty, I’m taking time to reflect and go on a journey of my own, to continue building my portfolio by joining design competitions and working on personal projects.

Responses have been edited for clarity.

Visit The eGrad Expectations 2020 showcase virtually here.

(Photos: Andrea Goh, Max Tan, Mohan Nirmitaa, Quek Jia Yi and Zoelle Chan)

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