Sierra Jamir: Realizing Roots

For Sierra Jamir ’14, art is the constant that has remained with her through the six times her family has moved.

Since the age of three, Jamir has been drawing almost every day. As a child, she often drew cartoons with her father.

“In elementary school, I made comic books every week. I made a whole series once, with ten books, ten pages each, in third grade. It was something I was always strong in, something I always knew how to do,” said Jamir.

“At Andover, I was pretty involved in my first two years. I was the head cartoonist for _The Phillipian_. I also participated in ‘Backtracks’ and ‘Out of the Blue.’”

Jamir’s involvement in artistic opportunities on campus has shaped her as a person throughout her time at Andover. Through “Backtracks,” she was able to be creative and imaginative with her work and enjoyed the freedom the magazine provided. When she worked on “Out of the Blue,” however, there were constraints, and she had to be more systematic, find common themes and make sure that her illustrations didn’t overpower the writing.

Working with Therese Zemlin, Instructor in Art, in Art 500 was instrumental in expanding Jamir’s artistic vision.

“She taught me installation, where the environment is your canvas. There are many options and choices. We worked in the [Cochran Bird Sanctuary], and it was definitely different than painting on an actual canvas,” said Jamir.

One of Jamir’s most enriching artistic experiences was making t-shirts and a website for a Filipino school when she took part in a community service project during her Upper spring.

“My family and I decided to support the indigenous Filipinos, the Aetas, before we went to the Philippines last summer with our Filipino orchestra (known as Iskwelahang Pilipino of Boston or simply IP)… During one day of our musical tour across the Philippines, we performed for them, planted trees, read books and toured their school. Before we embarked on our journey, I designed their website ‘The Aeta Project,’ a t-shirt, which was handed out to every Aeta and IP student, and banners for the event. We hope to use these designs to promote our organization in the future. We’re in the process of registering this into a non-profit organization,” said Jamir in an email to The Phillipian.

“I definitely think art has shaped me as a person. I have become more open to other cultures and forms of art. I am part of the Filipino group, and I am involved in my culture. I try to mix my heritage with modern art, and this has taught me the importance of creativity,” continued Jamir.

Despite Jamir’s love for art, she does not intend to pursue it as her main focus.

“It probably won’t be a part of my main work, because I am interested mostly in cultural studies, but if anyone ever needs a banner or help creating and designing a website, I will be happy to do it,” said Jamir.