Karooni Ahmed ‘18 was born in Bangladesh and moved with his family to Canada when he was in Grade 3. Thinking back now, he remembers a childhood full of creating art. “I was always very attached to drawing,”explains Karooni. “And let’s just say I got in trouble for colouring on the walls more than once.”
That keen interest in art was still very much present when Karooni joined York in Grade 7, and even resulted in him winning an art award that very first year. “Art was such a big part of my identity but I drifted away from it when I started high school so I could try other things,” Karooni recalls. “I wanted to play basketball and be a house captain. The thing about York is that I always felt like it was where I belonged. I always had that sense of community.”
Things came full circle for Karooni when he entered the final two years of high school and opted to take the International Baccalaureate (IB) Art classes for the Diploma Program (DP). During this time, Karooni began to experiment with digital artwork and expand his use of different mediums for his portfolio.
Karooni also traveled to the United States for the first time as part of a school trip to Los Angeles for IB Art and Film students. He was deeply inspired by the mix of art he saw there and began to rethink his own definition of artistic expression. “We saw street art and fine art and everything in between. The LA trip with York opened my eyes to contemporary pop art and for the first time I realized that my work could belong in a gallery one day.”
Today, Karooni is a graduate of the University of Toronto’s School of Architecture. While he enjoyed the program, Karooni knows his true passion is for his own art. “The bridge between architecture and my artwork is 3D modeling. I want to translate those skills and apply them to 2D art.”
Most recently, Karooni’s submission to the Welcome Toronto Creators Program was one of just four portfolio entries selected to be featured at a Toronto Raptors’ Game in partnership with the NBA, OVO and Bell Media. His animation and comic page were shown on the Jumbotron and shared with massive reach across all of the partners’ social media platforms, as part of a contest designed to showcase the talent of emerging young artists.
The night of the game, Karooni took it all in while surrounded by family, friends and a bunch of his former classmates from The York School. The response has been extremely positive, and Karooni has more projects in the works, including additional t-shirt designs for the Raptors.“It has been surreal and it felt amazing to share that moment with the people in my life who have always believed in me.”
The York School is a gender-inclusive JK to Grade 12 independent school located in the heart of Toronto. The York School was founded in 1965 and is the first English speaking school in Canada accredited to offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) from junior kindergarten (JK) to university entrance. As an IB World School, The York School's motto is Experience Teaches.