Lili Un, a Painting and Printmaking major at VCU’s Monroe Park Campus in Richmond, collaborated with Rana Rwaished, an Interior Design graduate from VCU in Qatar, to explore the translation of two-dimensional painting into three-dimensional interior design elements. Since they were physically separated, Un and Rwaished maintained a vigorous dialogue through Skype. Once one collaborator finished a project, she would send detailed images to the other, who would then create a new work based on those designs. The paintings were scanned into Adobe Illustrator, and the lines were extracted to form a separate file. Both the qualities of these lines and the shapes in the paintings informed the design of the interior elements. The basic lines of Burning Bush were printed using a laser cutter and installed as a large, organic light fixture. The angles in Paper and Crane inspired a large-scale angular seating area meant to resemble unfolding origami, which was also activated through the use of light. This structure then inspired the mountainous painting Desperate Wanting, the pensive atmosphere of which then yielded the paper wall installation. The thoughtful journey evoked in the painting was translated into a written component that was spray-painted onto the paper and wall.

Un and Rwaished’s research culminated in an exhibition held at a student gallery space in Education City, located in Doha, Qatar. The final element of the collaboration was a live video-feed that broadcast the opening to the Richmond campus.

Through this collaboration, Rwaished and Un fused the two disciplines of painting and interior design, which are otherwise distant allies. This interdisciplinary project was also an international collaboration in which the two researchers reintroduced the notion of reciprocal relationships and collaborative efforts between different cultures by communicating through the universal language of art.

Dylan Halpern PictureRana Rwaished

Rana Rwaished is an interior designer and research assistant at VCUU in Qatar. Through the Qatar Research Fund, she and three of her colleagues won a research grant to design an artist souq/community in Doha that is set to have its concept phase completed by the end of this year. Previously, she freelanced for Shell as a sculptor and designer for their Pearl GTL event launch in November 2011. Later, Rwaished returned to VCUQ to work in the Center of Research and Design Entrepreneurship (CRID). There, she worked closely with graphic designers developing a national road safety campaign in Qatar under the sponsorship of Maersk Oil and collaboration with Adibesc design agency. This campaign was officially launched in May under the name “ONE SECOND.” [http://www.onesecond.qa] Rwaished would like to pursue a career that allows her to shape people’s experiences, and their social behaviors whether in a form of a space, an exhibit, object or installation. Rana Rwaished’s Portfolio [http://issuu.com/rana_rwaished/docs/new_portfolio_/1]

Lili Un

Lili Un graduated from VCU's Honors College in 2013 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and Printmaking. Her work has been displayed at InLight Richmond in 2008, the VCU Honors College Circuit Conference in 2010 and local business RealiTea in 2011. Un collaborated with VCU Qatar student Rana Rwaished to cross styles, methods and cultures for the exhibition presented in Auctus. Recently, she traveled to Icheon, Korea for an apprenticeship in both ceramics and traditional icon painting.

Share this article on Facebook!
  • Please direct all
  • journal submissions
  • and inquiries to
  • Auctus@vcu.edu

  • Undergraduate Research
  • Opportunities Program
  • Email / Web

  • The Honors College
  • Email / Web

  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Richmond, VA
  • (804) 828-0100
  • Contact