An Evanston native, and Evanston Township alumna, Abigail Afriyie is currently studying Fine Arts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).
Before transferring to SAIC, Abigail attended Oakton Community College for two years where she was one of ten Oakton Scholars to receive support from the Wentcher Foundation. Abigail received her Associates in Fine Arts from Oakton in the Spring of 2020. She told us that she loved her time at Oakton stating that Oakton’s campus had the peace and quiet that she needed. As a recipient of the Oakton Wentcher Transfer scholarship, Abbigail was funded for two years at Oakton Community College and for an additional two years at SAIC where she is completing her Bachelor’s degree. Abigail told us that she decided SAIC would be the best college for her to transfer to because it had the best location to explore her passions. Staying close to family and home was really important to Abigail as she is the daughter of Ghanaian immigrants and had spent the first fifteen years of her life traveling back and forth between Ghana and the US.
At SAIC, Abigail is enrolled in the school’s rigorous Fashion Design program, which is centered on men’s and womenswear. In addition to that, she is diversifying her skill set through other fashion courses such as accessory design, shoe design, and fashion illustration. During her time at SAIC, she has been featured on the front cover of her school’s fashion magazine and their website. Although Abigail focuses on fashion, she explores all mediums including painting, photography, and filmmaking, all of which she really enjoys.
Over the summer, Abigail was part of an Arts Fellowship at the Chicago Center for Arts and Technology. During her fellowship, she worked as a Teaching Assistant for a class called Wearable Sculpture. After 2 months, Abigail was given gallery space at the center to host her own exhibit for two weeks.
Titled Rebirth Through the Light, the central theme around Abigail’s exhibition was her personal testimony of coming out of the darkness and into the light through her faith in God. She wanted to express how she came out of deep insecurity, fear, and anxiety through her Christian faith. The exhibit took her about three weeks to put together and featured a mix of both old and new artworks. One particular piece was a beautiful, detailed dress that was developed from the deconstruction of a t-shirt. She said it took her about a month to construct it.
Her dedication to her art is not only displayed in the work itself, but also in her work ethic. Abigail commutes over an hour to and from her classes and still gives her all. Being so dedicated to her craft, we asked Abigail what inspires her as an artist, and she said her childhood in Ghana plays a large role. Additionally, she said her faith in God plays a large role as well. She says finding a mix between the two is very important to her.
In the future, Abigail is looking to pursue a Master’s degree in Fine Arts and Fashion Design. Additionally, she is hoping to land a job in the fashion industry working for a high-end fashion house. At first, her goal was to have her own line of clothing. However, because of the business aspect of owning a clothing line, she feels that it might be best to start off working for an established clothing company while working on her own designs on the side.
We asked Abigail what she does outside of fashion and art, and she told us that she has a great passion for music! Abigail is currently part of a choir. Additionally, she is learning to play the piano, with aspirations of being able to freestyle during a jam session. She told us that she listens to a lot of instrumental music, gospel, and jazz.
We at the Wentcher Foundation are so proud of Abigail, and we cannot wait to see her continue to develop as an artist!