The "This is America" Analysis You've Been Waiting For
This poem is part of our new series, Poem Of The Week. Stay tuned each Wednesday for a new piece, and don't forget to submit your own work to firstname.lastname@example.org!
that is my name
That is my name.
You can find me in the flower fields of the Netherlands, or just out in your backyard.
I inhabit a scent so vibrant not even the pollinating bees can grasp.
Warda is my label and it shall be said with respect and appreciation.
A name so delicate, strong, and free is often confused with such a vulgar word. “TERRORIST”.
Now every time I hear that word I get a rush in my body that only occurs when I hear that word. When I hear “TERRORIST” I feel as though I have lost a piece of me. That bitter word is toxic to my roots, each time it is said one of my petals decay. Thou shall never be mistaken that after I lose a soft petal I am left with a bud that replenishes itself much stronger than the previous.
Ter·ror·ist- A word you use to describe someone who uses unlawful violence. A word I use to describe Steven Paddock, some may use “lone wolf” but wolves travel in packs and have morals. Steven was traveling with rifles and nothing but his sick mindset.
Terrorists are people who participated in the act of terror in Manchester, and London. Don’t you dare get that mixed up with my fellow Muslims.
A few hear the word Muslim and their faces flush with fear.
Though it should be, when the word is said your mind is infused with Culture, Acceptance, Love, Equality, Struggle, and strength.
To all my fellow buds of joy;
Carry on with your beauty because what you have to offer shouldn’t be diminished by the chaos in the media.
Beauty is your authentic name; Asiya, Ayesha, Zeynab-
It is the way you wear that hijab so modestly.
That is my name.
Warda Sheikh, is a 16 year old Somali girl born and raised in Toronto. Growing up, she has always had passion for writing. Short stories, rants, and poetry are her favourite way to releasing all her emotions and thoughts. Warda formulates pieces because of the way society makes her feel. Pieces about being black, woman, Muslims, and culture, are her specialties. She is an aspiring writer, and is well on her way to having her work recognized by the world.
An interview with one of Teen Eye's artists to watch, conducted by Kiannah Zambrano.
How has your geographical location (Belgium) influenced your artwork? Does Belgium have a specific and usual mood that reflects on your art?
I live in Antwerp, a city full of great architecture and artistic opportunities. I’m definitely inspired by the abundance of great museums. However, I don’t think my location has influenced my art a lot, I’m so used to living in Belgium and I don’t have experiences with living anywhere else, that it became a normal thing to see all the old buildings around me. I think I’m more inspired by the people i see here. The clothes that people wear and the way they carry themselves fascinates me. Belgium has a great variety of different cultures and people, and when I go out I always see someone that inspires me to draw or gives me ideas.
Do you tend to be more of an introvert or an extrovert? How does this affect your perspective on things?
I’m definitely more of an introvert, I’ve always found difficulty in making friends and I spend a lot of time with myself. This affects my work, my sketchbook is my main space for letting out all of my thoughts, ideas, worries. Drawing has become a very intimate and therapeutic act, it helps to process the day and keeps my thoughts in order. This makes my work more personal because I incorporate a lot of my feelings into my drawings.
Are there any specific people that serve as your inspirations/muses?
I’m very inspired by artists like Egon Schiele and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Their work is very raw and they have a clear style that they project onto the viewer. Shantell Martin is also a big inspiration, her work seems so free and spontaneous. She draws on walls, and big surface areas. Which is something I’ve been wanting to do for a very long time now. When I see her work, I get sudden bursts of creativity, a feeling that I need to draw. That’s what makes her one of my favourite artists.
Do you have more of an appreciation for modern day artists, or artists from the past?
Although I enjoy the work of artists from the past, I’m more inspired by modern day artists. especially young artists like me. I think it’s great to see young people experimenting with different styles and gaining popularity by doing the things they love.
These days, people often tell me that I can’t get a successful career in art, because it doesn’t pay well or it’s hard to become popular in the industry. But I think that if you’re motivated and keep going, you will be able to make a living out of it. When I see young artists doing this, I become really inspired by their determination and talent.
Do you have any specific advice for young artists?
Young artists lead busy lives, focusing on school, friends and art isn’t always easy. If you’re stuck in the same routine for too long you tend to loose inspiration. Go out and try different things, take a sketchbook everywhere you go and write about your thoughts and ideas. Experiment with different techniques and find your own style. Make art for yourself, don’t do it for anyone else.
At what age did you begin to get into art?
I have been drawing for as long as I can remember, my parents are both very involved with art and they motivated me from a very early age to start experimenting with it. My mom used to take me to the zoo every year to draw animals, and my dad was always looking out for exhibitions to visit. This made my love and appreciation for art grow.
Do you recall the first art piece you made?
I don’t consider everything I make art. it’s usually just a flow of unfinished ideas on paper. I made my first art piece this year, a series of three collages inspired by the relationship between humans and nature. I consider this my first real art piece because it is something I am very proud of, I can look at it and clearly see the idea behind it. I made the series for an art assignment at school. At first I was convinced that I was terrible at collage, so I had never tried it before. But after making that series, my love for collage grew and now I incorporate it a lot more in my work.
When you draw, what is your artistic process like, is it more scatterbrained or do you have a set idea of what you want to see?
My artistic process is very messy. If I have an idea, I start immediately. this makes my work more spontaneous. I try not to plan out my drawings, because this usually causes me to feel disappointed in the end result, because it didn’t turn out how I imagined it to be. I use photos as a reference for most of my drawings and I try to focus on simplicity.
See more of Laura's work on her blog here.
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