When Eman Wasef moved from Egypt to the United States as a child, she never realised how hard it would be for her to fit it.
"As an Arab, Muslim, I have been bullied throughout my whole life, especially when I started wearing the hijab," she told Stepfeed.
Rather than fight back, she turned to art in order to express her emotions and started drawing things that were close to her heart, including her home country of Egypt and her religion.
Realising The Power Of Art
As a quite person, Wasef never realised that other people were paying attention to her work or the impact that it would have on them.
"People started seeing me through my drawings. My classmates started voting for me as the most artistic and started noticing more of my art. So that made me want to make my art stand for something,” she explained.
"I started to focus my art on empowering my culture and empowering women."
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However, Wasef didn’t think that she could make a living from her passion and decided to study marketing at university - a decision she would later regret.
"I attended college and majored in marketing but I didn’t feel happy because that wasn’t me," she said. "After a lot of fighting with my parents, they finally let me study something I loved which was, of course, art."
She fell in love with illustration and created a piece that represented her pride and power as a Muslim woman.
This piece inspired Wasef’s senior thesis called Girl Power, a series of illustrations celebrating that unique power of each and every woman.
Celebrating Women Through Her Illustrations
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"The Girl Power series went on to become a voice,” she said. “Girl Power is about female empowerment, that you are not the label you are supposed to be, you are not fat, you are not old, you are whoever you want to be."
The series includes illustrations of a variety of women from different walks of life and highlights the strength of their individuality.
"No matter what kind of woman you are, you are the only one who can define your true self," Wasef explained.
Her Girl Power series is only the beginning and Wasef hopes to continue using her art to inspire others and help them find a voice - just as it helped her.
"Now that I graduated college and realised that I can be a voice for others, I am very excited and look forward to continuing empowering women, my culture and my religion, through my art."