My name is Deborah Mary Mathew and I’m Indian by nationality, born and raised in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. I moved to Limerick at the age of eighteen to pursue a bachelor’s degree in arts and I am currently starting my third year of Graphic Design at LSAD.
I chose to pursue arts and later, visual communications because I am quite a visual person who enjoys communicating via art or graphics. My parents had recognised my ability when I was very young and made sure to encourage its development. My love for expressing myself started young and still continues to grow and bloom to this day.
As much as my parents encouraged my love for art, my society and educational system did not, so I found myself being frustrated and angry at having to play second fiddle throughout my higher secondary education. So, in a way LSAD was a place where I could finally learn, explore and be able to create work I enjoyed. At LSAD I was not looked down on or judged by my choices unlike the society I grew up in where art is considered as a hobby rather than a credible educational path.
In my home country it is almost unheard of for a young girl to move along to a foreign land to pursue an education, let alone an education in art! So I took it as a challenge to show the people around me that it is very much a prosperous educational path, where one can educate and be educated along the way. I believe that is one of the major reasons why I am here studying at LSAD/LIT.
Accepting, comforting and lively would be the best way to describe LSAD. Coming into a completely new environment and country I had never visited really threw me off. When I first moved to Limerick I was really surprised to see how nice the people were, whether it was the supermarket cashier, bus driver or lecturer. I had done my research and knew Ireland was a rainy country but I was not prepared for the seemingly never-ending wind and rain which was such a huge contrast to constant heat in the desert where I was raised.
The very strange accents to a language I’ve grown speaking all my life also left me perplexed. For the first while I found myself trying to decipher what definitely sounded English and wondering why everything was “grand”. I really understood why change was never easy.
Having moved to a new country alone was scary so having been able to confide in my work and learning at an open community in LSAD was something I appreciated and helped me look forward to another day despite the rain. As cliché as it sounds, I am really glad to say that the minute I stepped into the halls of LSAD I was welcomed by staff and students from every walk of life with warm smiles and a willingness to help you out. Having finished second year now, I can still hold truth to this.
To this day I still love walking down the halls to see inspirational artwork from aspiring artists such as our various graduates, current students and experienced lecturers which brings life to a no longer open, empty space. For me specifically it was very important that I felt comfortable in my surroundings and was able to understand what was being asked of me which is always communicated well in my course. LSAD has taught me to thrive in everything I do, taking the space and freedom to express myself in my work. With the help and guidance from my tutors I can proudly say I am getting closer every day to achieving my highest potential. I have learned so much in my course and have grown as a person from being exposed to such an amazing community of people who have the best intentions for me at heart.
I have been raised to give to others what you would like them to give to you and my best advice to future students of LSAD would be the same. To enjoy the best experience from your time here be sure to give your work as much effort as possible so the tutors can visually see your growth because their biggest responsibility is for you to excel in the things you do. Do not be taken aback when you hit road bumps along your path, give it your best shot and you will find yourself in a place of fulfilment for yourself. My biggest take so far from my time here is to never stop creating. Your work doesn’t have to be the greatest piece there but know it is all part of the process and of the bigger, much grander journey you have embarked on.