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Shaping an Artist's Future: Meet the First Recipient of the Liu Shiming Endowed Scholarship

Updated: Apr 13, 2023

Shahd El Helbawy sees mysteries to be explored through her most recent artistic pursuit: sculpting. Her passion for art has led her to be the first recipient of the Liu Shiming Endowed Scholarship. Established last year at AUC, the scholarship will support El Helbawy’s journey through AUC’s visual arts program.

“In addition to tuition, this scholarship will enable me to travel and attend exhibitions abroad where other artists can view my work and I can see theirs,” El Helbawy said. “I feel it will be a good network of connections that I could use to support my goals.”

As a visual arts junior minoring in interactive media design, El Helbawy is interested in artistic narratives that link the human consciousness and unconsciousness. “I want my artwork to be interactive, where the viewer can relate to each piece in their own way that may evoke certain memories or emotions, for example,” she explained. “I believe that each person will relate to the artwork and understand it differently than the other.”

El Helbawy’s passion for sculpting gives her a unique connection to the Liu Shiming Art Foundation. Wei Liu, advisor of the Foundation and son of the celebrated Chinese sculptor Liu Shiming, donated his father’s renowned “Silk Road” sculpture to AUC in addition to establishing the scholarship.

Wei Lu stands where his father's sculpture will be placed at AUC New Cairo

“I really liked that most of Shiming’s sculptures have a natural structure to them. With simplistic details, the whole artwork comes together to create a realistic form,” El Helbawy noted. “There is freedom in working with clay and there is always a mystery in not knowing what the outcome will look like.”

El Helbawy is grateful to be part of a program that endorses young artists and encourages cross-cultural artistic dialogue. “Meeting new people from different cultures and seeing their work with different mediums will help me gain fresh perspectives and come up with new concepts that I could integrate into my artwork,” she explained.

In the future El Helbawy aspires to join exhibitions, start her own art studio and set up a space for other artists to learn sculpting and clay modeling. “I first need to work on myself and create more projects that represent my identity to be able to someday establish my own art foundation, just as Liu Shiming did,” she added.

Written by Honey ElMoghazi

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