Scenery change inspires artistic ability for Kurtaran

Sita Kharel and Nicole Korp, Staff reporters

Senior Sevval Kurtaran glides her brush across the pristine canvas. Her eyes sparkle as she focuses on painting the woven patterns of Islamic architecture, the background of her self-portrait.

Kurtaran moved to the United States from Turkey at age 15 and says when she transferred to South she was shy and timid. Arriving as a sophomore, she was introduced to her first art course, Drawing I, in which she realized her creative capacity for art which allowed her to express her voice through her pieces. Since coming to South, Kurtaran says she has grown to have a passion for art and is now able to convey her thoughts and feelings through her artistic style.

Kurtaran says her art focuses on one centralized theme: identity. She says she tries to zoom in on what makes a person who they are, how people make decisions and how those decisions make them who they are. All of those aspects effect her artistic choices

“I see art as a way of explaining your ideas and showing other people what you think in a different style,” Kurtaran said. “People usually write something [to express themselves], I do that with my art.”

This past summer, Kurtaran broadened her perspectives on art by attending college painting classes at the American Academy of Art where she completed her first painting. This course is something most students do not experience until after high school. This course qualified her for AP Art, which she is currently taking. AP Art is taught by Art Teacher Stephanie Fuja, who was Kurtaran’s Drawing I teacher also. Fuja recognized Kurtaran’s talent early on in the course.

“Sevval is a motivated, creative and caring person with an inquisitive mind and bold intellect,” Fuja said. “She has great organizational skills and time management. She works above and beyond my expectations of her almost every day, coming into the classroom on her own time when   needed.”

Fuja had Kurtaran in her Drawing I class sophomore year and believes that she has seen her transition into who she is today. Fuja says that Kurtaran has become much more comfortable and open, yet still is extremely sincere.

“She has opened up,” Fuja said. “She’s still quieter but she’s more open. She’s more of a risk-taker and more comfortable in her own skin.”

Kurtaran says her personal development in the United States was influenced by her background in Turkey, as she and her family left the country because of political unrest. As Kurtaran reflected on her prior experience, she revealed the guilt she feels toward her current situation.

“I was glad that I was leaving Turkey because I was going to see my dad after three months,”  said. “I felt bad for the rest of my family and friends that were in Turkey. Even though there are many opportunities for my family here, it is still hard to not think about them because sometimes I feel like I left them behind.”

In the future, Kurtaran wants to major in business and minor in art. Initially, she wanted to major in art but changed her mind as she considered long-term goals and how she could get there.

“I wanted to major in art but then when I think about it the salary range is low and it is hard to find a job,” Kurtaran said. “My aunt always tells me to major in other things. I want to combine business with my creative side.”

Although Kurtaran does not see herself solely pursuing an art degree, she knows that art is something she sees as a defining part of her life. She says it’s a part of who she is.

“[Art] just makes me feel proud of myself,” Kurtaran said. “Art is what I am good at.”