Master of Fine Art 2015 - 2017

Hala Sabet

Artist

Do you remember coming to an Open Day at West Dean College and if so, how did it help you decide to study here?

I do remember coming to the West Dean College Open day and listening to David Stent’s presentation which so inspired me and made me decide there and then to study my MFA at West Dean. Walking through the very spacious studios allocated to students made me realise that I can experiment and create on a large scale that would not be possible anywhere else. The various short courses available would enhance my skills and enrich my knowledge. West Dean provides the space to expand your intellectual and artistic skills.

What do you consider your biggest achievement to date?

I always had a dream of having a solo exhibition on a large scale in my home country, Egypt. After a whole year of hard work and various logistic preparations including the transportation of the 60 paintings, I fulfilled my dream and had a very successful Solo exhibition and Artist Talk at Arcade Gallery. I was featured in various media and my work was selected to be exhibited in the Egypt International Art Fair. A double achievement I did not expect!

Talk us through your career path since graduating.

After I graduated with an MFA with distinction, I decided to build a large studio and concentrate on making art 2D and 3D. I spent a year just focusing on enhancing my skills in the studio. In parallel I started exploring the art scene in the UK as well as Egypt. I participated in various exhibitions with different groups and then had a large Solo exhibition of paintings and sculpture in Skyway Gallery. Then I started to work hard on fulfilling my dream of exhibiting in Egypt which is where I am now.

What projects are you currently working on?

I have just started working on a new series of paintings and sculptures to be exhibited in another Solo exhibition in February 2022. In view of Covid restrictions, two group exhibitions in the UK have been rescheduled to 2022 which I will be participating in. I am also scheduled to run various art workshops both in Egypt and the UK. Whilst preparing for these exhibitions I am also extending my sculpture skills by learning various techniques in ceramics and wood carving aiming to incorporate the two elements together in my sculpture. 

Do you have any tips for recent graduates?

Dream dream dream. The sky is your limit. Do not stop learning new skills and always apply for art opportunities. There is nothing wrong in being rejected so keep persevering. Do not just think nationally but go beyond your boundaries. Try to establish some kind of space to create and work daily even if it is just sitting in the studio to think. Communicate and interact on social media regularly, and above all, believe in yourself.

How do you think studying at West Dean College prepared you for what you do now?

West Dean College expanded my intellectual knowledge and equipped me with the skills I needed to create confidently both on small and large scale.

The MFA curriculum that provided both intellectual as well as practical knowledge and skills enriched my Art understanding and making. I felt confident going into the Art world. The various exhibition opportunities we had during our study also prepared me professionally. It is very rare to find a combination of studio space, learning specific skills and exhibiting widely in one academic institution which is what I had in West Dean College.

What's your favourite memory from your time at the College?

Being exposed and able to mingle and learn from other disciplines in the college such as furniture making and musical instruments. For my first year in the MFA graduate show, I was able to collaborate with the music department and produced a large scale installation that was musically interpreted and played by musicians from the college. Another memory of mine is when the West Dean Gardens team provided me with over 50 tree trunks to be used in my final degree show. The support you get from the whole college is unprecedented.