Classical and renaissance art fascinate Sara Aggarwal. A Hale student from the Class of 2023, she enjoys experimenting with ideas through collages. "My art is sometimes quite political, and addresses societal issues of today’s world," says the art lover who has a keen interest in art history and human geography. "I like to take risks with my art and attempt things out of my comfort zone that challenge me." To that end, for her Art GCSE final piece, she merged themes of classical art with pop art to show how a consumerist society can be damaging to art. Still weighing her options regarding her career path, Sara has enrolled for a summer program at Boston University where she has opted for an art history course.

What got you interested in art history and human geography?

I have been creating art from the age of 12, and since then have done sculptures, paintings, collages and even prints. However, of late, I’m yearning to learn more about what I am painting, and what inspired its style. This curiosity grew when I decided to take Art GCSE. The course exposed me to many artists I’d never heard of and introduced me to new techniques. Even after the course ended, I was left with the desire to learn more about the eras of art. All of the art is subtly influenced and inspired from the works of previous artists with different styles. I would love to be able to apply that knowledge not only to develop my own art, but to analyse other works of art as well.

Human geography is a fascinating area of study for me. Issues such as urbanisation and global healthcare interest me. I’d like to explore why some countries are more disadvantaged than others in the face of disasters or why economic development can increase inequality in others.

How do you see these subjects helping you push boundaries?

In art, there are so many things I can challenge myself with. I recently tried a complex painting using oils, a medium I had never used before. Another time, I made a sculpture even though I had never worked with clay before. I try to use different techniques and use different styles so that I don’t just do things that are easy. Human geography helps me discuss my ideas more in class and participate in debates.

Is there a dearth of students opting for such subjects?

I do not think there are a lot of students showing interest in the creative arts, especially fine art. A majority who do opt for art usually couple it with computer science so that they can study digital art or graphic design. Geopolitics, too, is not a very popular area of study, as students usually opt for geography as a whole course.

As an artist, “there are so many things I can challenge myself with”, says Sara

What career are you planning to pursue?

I am still unsure of which path to pursue out of these two routes – fine art and human geography/geopolitics. I have taken geography and art for my A-Level subjects, and I am hoping to do a summer course where I can interact with the environment and its population after the pandemic to further my interest in human geography.

Have you identified colleges/universities you plan to study in post school?

I am aware of some colleges that offer the types of courses I am interested in. In the USA, Tufts University, Parsons School of Design, Columbia University, and Rhode Island School of Design all seem like great fits. In the UK, Oxford is renowned for its geography and fine art schools.

Anand Raj OK

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