A Self Portrait Of Some Sort
By Suhaylah Sirajul-Islam
This is a self-portrait. It’s inspired by anime and my decision to wear niqab, and I think it’s one of my best works because it truly represents me.
I draw digitally using the app Procreate on my iPad. At first it started out as a doodle, then as an anime portrait of a character, but it wasn’t really working out, so finally I just got frustrated and drew myself. At the end of it, I was pretty proud of myself. I learned how to draw dramatic lighting and it kinda just felt refreshing, as this was the first self-portrait that I had drawn after becoming a niqabi.
Meet the Pair
MENTEE SUHAYLAH SIRAHUL-ISLAM & MENTOR RUEY-YAH TANG
Suhaylah’s Anecdote: Ruey-yah is great. I love meeting with her in BRIC multimedia house after school because sometimes, even if we don’t get any work done, we talk a lot. And it feels productive! Whether we’re talking about community or I’m ranting about gentrification, Ruey-yah’s input is always appreciated. It’s just so refreshing to see her because her perspective on things is really interesting. I also love hearing the little snippets about her life from her roommates to her work because it doesn’t seem like there’s ever a dull moment for her. Honestly, I love writing and meeting with her and I could not have asked for a better mentor.
Ruey-yah’s Anecdote: Every time I see Suhaylah she is on her phone, furiously tapping away. I am usually walking in. But then we spend way too much time talking. There are so many family members and anime characters to keep up with and the questions around representation in each case. I think Suhaylah and I are both embedded within such a strong network of community, which I believe has instilled and reminded us to stay engaged, active, communicative, and grateful for all that we have. When it feels as if we are too exhausted to care about everyone and everything, words are potent, and powerful.
Suhaylah Sirajul-Islam is a third-year high school student and aspiring video game designer. He is an award-winning photographer and poet, traditional artist, animator, graphic designer and steampunk fiction writer. In their free time, they like to daydream about having a pet cat and procrastinate on their school assignments. She currently lives in Brooklyn with her two siblings and parents.