The Arts Flourish at UWC ISAK Japan
UWC ISAK Japan is known not only for its diverse community and academic excellence but also for its thriving arts scene. The campus is adorned with various student and alumni artworks, thanks to the dedicated Arts teachers, Mr. Hinton (Visual Arts) and Mr. Christensen (Theatre, Film), and the creative clubs that highlight the artistic talent within the school.
Maya’s Passion for Art Leads Her to UWC ISAK Japan
For UWC ISAK Japan alumna Maya (Class of 2018 / Singapore-Japan), art played a crucial role in her decision to join the school. “I wouldn’t have applied, nor would I have done the IB Diploma Programme if it was not for Art,” she says. In addition to the strong arts program, UWC ISAK provided her with an opportunity for personal growth. During Summer School 2014, she discovered a community of like-minded individuals who took her thoughts and ideas seriously, encouraging her to explore her potential.
Discovering a Path in the Creative Field
Although Maya had always loved drawing and making art, it was at UWC ISAK that she found her niche in the creative field. Intrigued by the practical applications of design, she ventured into the world of fabric and textile design. She connected with a community of textile designers through social media and was captivated by the idea of creating art that integrates into everyday life, such as home furnishings and clothing.
Fostering Artistic Expression at UWC ISAK Japan
At UWC ISAK Japan, Maya received invaluable support from her Arts teacher, Mr. Hinton, who provided her with resources and constructive feedback. She also participated in Project Week and joined the CAS Project Iridescent, which aimed to raise awareness about gender inequality. The project involved hosting panel discussions in Tokyo, attending art events, and creating handmade zines featuring poems, photographs, and collages addressing the issue.
“It was at ISAK that I had time to experiment and pursue my interests,” Maya recalls. “At university, I realized how important it was to explore something without being too affected by popular culture. Everyone was passionate about something there. Learning to find inspiration from very different subject areas became a strength in my design.”
Embracing Confidence and Learning from Mistakes
Maya’s time at UWC ISAK taught her the importance of confidence and embracing her own interests. In addition, she learned that making mistakes is an essential part of the learning process and that through trial and error, personal growth is achieved. Reflecting on her experiences, she says, “If I didn’t go to UWC ISAK, I would have never realized any of these mistakes.”
The Art of Knitting and a Promising Future
After graduating from UWC ISAK, Maya pursued a Bachelor of Arts in Textile Design at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. Initially drawn to print due to her love of illustration, she discovered her passion for knitting after seeing her first domestic knitting machine at the university. Fascinated by the process, she chose to specialize in knitting: “Some of the machines that we work with aren’t produced anymore. I think there is an interesting intersection of doing something in the present with a technique of the past.”
Maya’s final graduation project, a knitted lamp cover inspired by the colors of genuine photographs, can be viewed here.
Currently, Maya works at Maruyasu Corporation in Tokyo, where plans and designs yarn collections for brands. She envisions a future working in textile consulting and CMF design (Color, Materials, and Finish) and hopes to explore collaboration opportunities outside of Japan. In addition to her artistic pursuits, Maya is a certified yoga teacher, a passion she developed during her time at university.
As Maya continues her journey, her creative contributions to the textile industry and the world of yoga will make a lasting impact. We are excited to see where her talents will lead her and how she will continue to serve others through her unique and innovative approaches.
The Lasting Impact of UWC ISAK Japan’s Arts Program
Maya’s story is just one example of how UWC ISAK Japan’s commitment to nurturing artistic expression and creativity has a profound and lasting impact on its students. The school’s dedication to providing a supportive environment for young artists and its emphasis on personal growth and learning from mistakes prepares students to pursue their passions and make a difference in the world.
Whether through visual arts, theater, film, or other creative outlets, UWC ISAK Japan continues to shape the lives of its students, empowering them to embrace their artistic talents and use them to contribute positively to society.
As more alums like Maya embark on their own creative journeys, the UWC ISAK Japan community can look forward to witnessing the extraordinary accomplishments and successes of these talented individuals. Their stories testify to the power of the arts and the impact a supportive and nurturing educational environment can have on a student’s personal and professional growth.
Read other alumni stories on our Leaders Beacon Blog.