This Fredericton student is being celebrated for her hyper-realistic portraits

·2 min read
Laila Soliman moved to Fredericton from Saudi Arabia, stands next to one of her portraits, Smiling Depression. (Mrinali Anchan/CBC - image credit)
Laila Soliman moved to Fredericton from Saudi Arabia, stands next to one of her portraits, Smiling Depression. (Mrinali Anchan/CBC - image credit)

Laila Soliman's art has something to say.

"When I feel sad, I love to draw and express all of my feelings," said the Grade 12 student as she spoke about an art exhibition put on by Fredericton High School to showcase her drawings.

Soliman moved to Fredericton from Saudi Arabia seven months ago and has already made an impression in the local art community with her hyper-realistic portraits.

It is easy to be memorized by her portraits, which show a keen understanding of shadow and light.

WATCH | Fredericton High School student wows with her eye-catching portraits

For Soliman, eyes are very much the window to the soul as she draws inspiration from people around her, celebrities and internet culture.

"I started drawing just simple cartoon characters, then I started with the eyes. I like the details," she said.

Soliman's craft has evolved since she started using graphite pencils, and she became more experimental with watercolour paints and coloured pencils.

That has allowed her to create pieces such as a portrait titled Smiling Depression.

Soliman describes Smiling Depression as a sense of having to mask pain and anxiety and put on a happy face for the world.

"I was suffering from this problem personally, so I wanted to do something about it and make people aware because I think it's a really important problem."

Ed Hunter/CBC
Ed Hunter/CBC

While the past year has been a time of positive experience, it has also been a big adjustment to move to a new country during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For Soliman, art has been the medium that has let her navigate those changes.

"I am really enjoy learning about art," she said. "I really like my art classes and it has been a lot to learn."

She plans on attending the University of New Brunswick to pursue a degree in applied arts.

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