Fati Zulaikha '20
Artivist, ONE Archives Foundation
Studio Arts major, Multimedia Arts emphasis
What have you been doing since graduating from LMU?
During my time at LMU and since graduating, I have identified as an Artivist. As a Black queer nonbinary femme, social justice is a part of my being and my art is activism. Art has been a place of empowerment, healing, and processing for me, and I have always been passionate about healing justice. Because of this, I have always pursued opportunities with spaces that exhibit activism and healing through the arts, and have been so lucky to find that in many spaces.
Directly after graduating, from June to August 2020, I interned with 18th Street Arts Center as a Curatorial intern, as part of the Getty Marrow Undergraduate Internship program. This was my second time having the honor of interning with the Getty MUI program. Afterwards, I was lucky enough to receive an internship with ONE Archives Foundation as part of the LA County Arts and Culture internship program. My internship formally ended in March, and I am happy to say my work with ONE continues.
I am also working with Brentwood Art Center as a Zoom Assistant, and in my free time I am attending the Expressive Therapies and California Association of Museums Summits, and volunteering with Free Arts to broaden my knowledge as an Artivist. I am also currently applying to Art Therapy graduate programs across the country as the next step in my career as healing justice Artivist.
What is your day-to-day job like?
I hold two part-time jobs at the moment as a Zoom Assistant with Brentwood Art Center, and an Exhibitions and Programming intern with ONE Archives Foundation. A day with BAC looks like attending virtual art classes and being on hand to support students and faculty with the classes. I get to see many different teaching styles, age groups, and artistic media. A day with ONE looks like working to produce a vast number of exciting projects from a pop-up exhibit, to a virtual panel, to a live reading of a play.
I am always challenging myself, learning new skills, and growing as a young professional.
How did your undergraduate studies prepare you for your career?
I feel that my studies prepared me perfectly for my career. My studies with the Multimedia department included pursuing an internship during my time as a student, and between my professors, the Career and Professional Development's staff and VOCARE program, I experienced a lot of support and empowerment in my career aspirations. I also attended many University career talks and events related to the arts, as well as the career fair. I feel that LMU has a lot of support and opportunities if you look out for it and engage!
Why did you decide to major in Studio Arts?
I initially came in as an Undecided major at LMU. I have always been a person with many passions and interests, and at times found it hard to just pick one thing when every opportunity has so much to offer. Art has always been my foundation and lifelong passion through which I understand everything else, however.
It didn't take long at all before I declared a major in Studio Arts, with a concentration in Multimedia Arts and emphasis in motion. I chose this concentration and emphasis because I have always felt a drive towards spacemaking, community building, and healing, and Multimedia truly offered students the liberty to explore the extent of what the arts can do. I was drawn to motion because of the physicality and tangible nature of it, and how that connects to creating a space or community.
My senior project, Confessions, was a physical-installation-turned-3D-experience exploring a queering and abstraction of a womb, and the notions of simultaneous comfort and vulnerability that it evokes. It was meant to be a space for two people to connect with themselves and each other through the act of sharing, of confessing. I believe that the arts has always been a space for marginalized identities, including my Black and Queer identities, to heal, connect, and build community. These practices of healing have been decentered by eurocentric and colonial narratives of healing. Through art, I endeavored and continue to work to center these, and other unjustly delegitimized means of healing.
Tell us a little about your concentration in Studio Arts.
As a student with a concentration in Multimedia Arts, I was exposed to a vast array of skills and media, and had a close-knit cohort, hands-on professors, and creative freedom. I was empowered to explore and integrate other arts and disciplines. My emphasis in motion meant that dance, animation, and film production was included in my curriculum. Outside of this however, I was also able to pursue my passions beyond the arts that informed my practice as an Artivist. I took classes in Psychology, African-American Studies, English, and I even studied abroad in a humanities program. All of these experiences have made me a better artist and activist.
What was your favorite aspect of the STAR program?
I think the professors in the STAR program are so engaged, and are amazing mentors that truly support your growth as an artist and transition from university life to professional life. I also think the STAR program has so many opportunities from ARTsmart, to KaleidoLA, to AMPLIFY. There is so much passion in the program and opportunity to engage and connect.
Where you involved in any meaningful organizations/activities while at LMU?
I have so many meaningful organizations to thank for my memorable time at LMU. I was a member of both Ignatians Service Organization and Agape Service Organization and grew so much as an activist and person. I was lucky to attend many Alternative Break and Ignacio Companion trips to Guatemala, Jamaica, Vietnam, and LGBTQ organizations in LA. My senior year I was actually going to be a part of the AB California Prisons trip during spring break. I also felt so much community from EISS clubs like BSU, ISU, and NSU.
Finally, my time working with the Laband Art Gallery as Graphic Designer was such an incredible experience of a one-of-a-kind workplace and community of coworkers and supervisors.
What is your favorite memory from your time at LMU?
My favorite memory from my time at LMU was studying abroad in Argentina the fall semester of my junior year. It was such a beautiful and holistic experience, through engaging with the local communities, studying alongside Argentine students, and disconnecting — I didn’t bring my phone, there was no TV — in order to connect with others. I came out of it feeling such a great sense of community, and sense of purpose in my community building, healing justice, and arts administration practices.
Do you have any advice for current STAR students?
I would highly recommend getting to know your professors, your mentors, and your supervisors. I was so lucky to have been able to build incredible connections with both faculty and staff at LMU. I know that I have people that down the line I can always return to.