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To Ghia Zaatari ’07, Harvard isn’t quite home. Rather, according to the native of Beirut, Lebanon, Harvard is a “studio,” a place to unleash her creativity. The Mather resident has certainly made good use of her studio space, taking sculpture classes, snapping thought-provoking photographs, and drawing fine sketches that have graced the pages of Harvard’s Diversity & Distinction (D&D), among other publications. This week, the Social Anthropology concentrator and newly-elected Assistant Photo Editor of D&D steps out from her behind-the-scenes work in photography and artistry for some time under the “Spotlight.”
1) What is your assessment of Harvard’ss artistic community and culture?
The number of artistic opportunities at Harvard, both curricular and extracurricular, overwhelms me. However, often times I find that they are inaccessible— whether it’s because of enrollment restrictions or inability to find activities at the right level. I think Harvard does a fine job at promoting the arts, but there is definitely a lot more room for encouragement.
2) What do you find rewarding about photography/ drawing? What inspires you, as a busy college student, to continue to participate in an art that requires such time commitment and intellectual inspiration outside of class?
That’s exactly it! I find that the best way to balance and provide contrast to all the madness on campus is to take part in an art. Drawing or working with photography gives me the perfect opportunity to get away from everything and enjoy myself at the same time.
3) Briefly describe your creative process in sitting down to draw a creative piece.
I can’t put my finger on it, but I imagine that it is not any different from the process of other people. All I know is that I am very messy and things will take for hours if I have an eraser in my hand.
4) What do you regard as the most inspiring locale on campus? Is there an untapped resource you find especially appealing at Harvard.
Not enough non-VES students ever make it to the Carpenter Center. They always have exhibits and films in the archives that are definitely worth seeing. I also think that there are a lot of venues in Cambridge that are worth exploring, such as jazz clubs, art exhibits, etc.
5) What has been your most fulfilling artistic/academic experience at Harvard?
Dancing with kids on a regular basis with City Step and seeing my pictures in a published magazine (D&D).
6) How has Harvard been a home to you? Has being here changed you?
I wouldn’t call Harvard a home. It’s more like a studio— a place to be creative and productive. I have learned a lot during my time here and met people that I love, but just wish there was more common space to hang art, listen to music and enjoy good company.
7) Characterize your taste in artistic works in five words.
Colorful, Meaningful, (sometimes) Political, Memorable & Embracing
8) Where do you imagine yourself next year, post-graduation, and in ten years?
I heard about these two guys that are spending seven years on a photography project and covering one continent per year. I don’t know where I’ll be next year or the year after but at some point in my life I would love to do something like that.
9) Do you have any entertaining drawing stories?
I once accidentally turned in a picture to Diversity & Distinction of myself in a semi-monkey suite.
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