Sayeda Akbary’s medal award-winning project, All That’s Been Said and Done is a participatory video installation. Here’s how she describes it:
The title of my thesis is All That’s Been Said & Done. The project is a video installation based on the different lifestyles of people in the western society (Us) and people in the third world countries (Them). The installation is a replica of a room, in an Afghani village, with two full wall projections facing each other. The space between the projections forms an extension for the audience to fully participate and share the space of a third world society and its people. As part of the project, I distributed over forty disposable cameras to children around the different villages during my visit and assigned them a task to help us see through their eyes. Throughout this approach, I used graphic design as a creative process to convey a specific message to a targeted audience through visual communication and presentation. By using various methods of combining images, sound, video, typography and page layout, my aim is to produce a balanced and focused installation that visually represents my ideas and messages.
What inspired you and motivated you to do this project?
What inspired me were the experiences I faced when I first visited Afghanistan, after a very long time, in June of 2011. I felt there was a barrier between my extended family and Us because of our social class and standards. Through my approach, I wanted to remove these barriers and help Them share our experiences while we shared theirs. I wanted Them to feel that there is nothing that marks one of us better than the other and there are no barriers that can stop us from living the lives and sharing the experiences of each other.
What part of the process of creating this project did you learn the most from?
I learned the most from re-visiting Afghanistan in December of 2012 to gather further research for this project and I would say that was by far the best decision I ever made. This was an opportunity where I got to work in person with the children of my village. I was able to share their space with them and learn from them. I shared my knowledge of the western society with them in return. We soon started to adapt each other’s behaviour and physical language. They soon felt that sharing the “western” experiences made them as good as the “westerners” and that there was nothing left to make one of us better than the other. I learned about these children’s feelings and their future dreams.
What part of the process of creating this project are you the most proud of?
I am really proud of making the Afghanistan trip happen for this project. I was also extremely happy and satisfied with how my final installation turned out. It served the purpose really well and knowing that the audience fully experienced and understood the atmosphere of the installation was definitely a good feeling.
How did you react to the news that you won a medal for your work?
I was surprised, excited and out of words, but I think I was more happy to know that I had achieved the goal I had set for myself and that was to get my message and ideas across. It has definitely motivated me to continue making important differences in people’s lives.
What’s your fondest memory from your studies at OCAD U, and what will you miss the most?
The past years at OCAD U have been magnificent. As a student monitor, full time staff member and a full time student, I have met so many different amazing students, coworkers and instructors who have challenged me and supported me in every step to pushing my limits. My finest moments are the time and the knowledge I have shared with the OCAD U community.
What are you planning to do next?
I am currently working on an upcoming exhibition planned for August that will feature my work together with thesis work by my peers. My plan is to do as many exhibitions as possible throughout the next year. I will also be attending OCAD U to complete my minor in INTM. Future plans are to complete a Master’s program.
Find out more about Sayeda Akbary: