Never Stop Learning

Even as an artist with years of experience, Elizabeth Dorazio always knew she wanted to pursue a Master of Fine Arts.

As an artist whose practice centers around mixed-media works and installation, Elizabeth Dorazio was drawn to the growing art scene that was beginning to take off in the UAE, and began participating in exhibitions in different Emirates.  

Her life has taken her to different places. Born and raised in Brazil, she lived in different cities around Europe before another adventure beckoned her to the UAE in 2014.

NYU Abu Dhabi’s Master of Fine Arts Program

Dorazio knew she wanted to pursue a Master of Fine Arts at some point in her career. When she tried applying for an MFA program in Germany, she was taken aback at the cut off age for applicants. Frustrated at such conservative ways of thinking about education, Dorazio was turned off by her MFA pursuit until she heard about NYUAD’s new MFA program from an arts writer based in Dubai. There was no hesitation from Dorazio: “I joined immediately.”

NYU Abu Dhabi MFA student Elizabeth Dorazio working on her upcoming exhibition work.

On-campus housing is available for graduate students, but as Dorazio has already been living in Dubai before she started the program, she decided to commute. Some days, she starts her day as early as 7am in the morning and does not get home until 10pm at night. While it is tiring, it’s been worthwhile for Dorazio.

A Space That Allows Creation

There are five MFA students that make up this first cohort, each student bringing their different artistic concepts using a different medium. Besides the cultural exposure NYUAD affords, Dorazio also likes the fact that some of her MFA classmates are of different age groups as she says it helps when it comes to brainstorming creative ideas. Professors also often encourage students to talk through their practice and development in preparation for their final thesis paper at the end of their second year.

The MFA class in session at NYU Abu Dhabi.

The resources made available for the MFA students have also been great. From making sculptures in ceramic to making woodworks, the labs have proven to be a great space to create. “It’s really fascinating to see all these facilities and what we can do from them,” Dorazio said. She added that the lab technicians were always around to support troubleshooting or share their expertise in ways to really utilize each equipment to its full potential. “I wish I can carry on using the studio after my program finishes,” Dorazio jokes.

Woodworking Space at NYU Abu Dhabi.
Some of the material and resources available for MFA student on campus.
NYU Abu Dhabi MFA student Elizabeth Dorazio working in her campus studio space.

Dorazio is currently creating new artwork by etching drawings into wood. She plans to showcase these pieces in three upcoming exhibitions. Two exhibitions will be held in Brazil and another will be featured at Warehouse 421 in Abu Dhabi.