Ilhaam has been working with students for many years and boasts a perfect success rate. These are some of the testimonials from students and their parents on working with her.
I always knew I wanted to become an architect and though I was good at maths and science, I hadn’t taken art in high school so was overwhelmed by the prospect of putting together the required portfolio pieces for my Bachelors of Architectural Studies application at UCT. I sought the help of an art teacher and after feverishly scanning the internet for specialists in portfolio development, (a rarity as it happens) I managed to find Ilhaam’s page and, impressed with her qualifications in both fine art and education, I decided to engage her services. Little did I know I’d be embarking on a creative awakening and make a life long friend in the process. Ilhaam skilfully guided me through different thought and art exercises, stimulating my ideas and encouraging originality. She never spoon fed me but rather taught me how to investigate, research and explore multiple solutions and most importantly, how to trust my creative choices. Liberated from my inhibitions and insecurities, I was able to put together a strong and successful portfolio.
I often reached out to her during my 3 year undergraduate degree in times of uncertainty and she would willingly make herself available be it to give me small snippets of advice, long sessions or much needed honest criticism and encouragement to always aim higher.
After completing my bachelors degree and working in the field, I eventually mustered up the courage to apply to Columbia University in New York for my Masters in Architecture. For this, I submitted a number of projects completed during my undergraduate and a few I worked on while employed with different architectural firms. I engaged Ilhaam’s help with 2 art pieces to show a broader scope of my creative abilities and again, I was accepted into my desired program.
Her teaching style is not only effective but speaks to her understanding of the importance of the role of an educator and she is devoted to making a positive impact on all those she works with, helping them to reach their true potential. I am eternally grateful, thank you Ilhaam.
~Keneilwe Ramaphosa (Postgraduate Architecture student at the University of Columbia, New York)
My journey with Ilhaam began during my gap year, after reaching out to her for assistance with my portfolio development.
She started our sessions in the same way a detective might start a case on a new investigation. Asking me questions, trying to understand my positionality as a young artist/maker, finding out what kind of work speaks to me and what sort of mediums I connect with.
With every session, came a mini breakthrough, bringing us closer to the final work I needed to discover within what was then, a very unnurtured and undiscovered personal practice.
Ilhaams guidance was essential in directing me to my final destination. I can recommend her wholeheartedly to any artist or creator wishing to expand on or develop their practice.
~Nick Sherlock (Fine Artist and Filmmaker)
I met Ilhaam many years ago when I took her ‘Developing your Artist Identity Class’. At the time I was a successful photographer looking to channel my creativity into more satisfying channels. To say that Ilhaam changed my life would be a gross understatement. Her class made me examine the root causes of my resistance to the idea of being an artist and helped me to find a voice in ways I would never have expected – leading me to pursue my art in a novel way all my own.
Ilhaam is a deeply thoughtful, intelligent person, she has a way of cutting to the source of blockages and gently breaking down barriers. But she is also kind, insightful, empowering and eloquently expressive. I have two bits of advice for anyone considering working with Ilhaam 1. Do it. And 2. Fasten your seatbelt.
~Brooke Auchincloss (Fine Artist)
Under lllhaam’s guidance, I was able to realise and take ownership of my artistic abilities as a student of architecture and as a working professional in the creative industry. I first joined her Portfolio Development classes right out of my matric year, with little knowledge of the Bachelor of Architectural Studies (BAS) application process. I was also unaware of my capabilities as a creative individual. Her guidance, teaching, and unwavering support for my entrance into the BAS programme continues to be a fundamental aspect in my academic career.
I will always remember where my career began, in her classroom, as we worked through the BAS application process. I returned to her portfolio development classes once I had completed my BAS degree and wanted to compile a portfolio of my undergraduate work in order to apply for an internship in order to complete my Honours degree. I would not have obtained the entrance into both programs if it was not for her guidance.
Students in undergraduate programs in architecture, particularly, struggle to consolidate their design capabilities into succinct, legible, and presentable bodies of work. lllhaam’s Portfolio Development classes allowed for these problems to be successfully addressed. This further gave me a sense of confidence as a designer and allowed me to bounce ideas off of an engaging and supportive teacher whose goal was to see her students flourish in the creative realm.
I strongly support her teaching style, artistic coaching and general ease and approachability in the classroom. Our communication has lasted throughout my academic career, and I would gladly return to her teachings whenever I need to.
Any success that I have obtained and continue to obtain can be traced back to her classroom. I still employ many of her attitudes and advice on creative projects to this day.
I am currently undertaking my Master of Architecture at UCT and hope to develop a portfolio with lllhaam upon my entrance into my next degree or employment ventures.
~Nathan Eisen (UCT Postgraduate Architecture student)
I came to Ilhaam in 2015 with a dream to get accepted into the top Architecture school in South Africa. Within minutes of meeting Ilhaam, I felt instantly at ease and I knew she would be key in helping me achieve this dream. Six years later l, I am completing my masters degree in Architecture at UCT.
I will never forget the care and consideration that Ilhaam paid to every detail in helping me achieve what I set out to do. She helped me develop into more authentic, confident and creative person. I am still very proud of the portfolio I created under her guidance. There is a reason why she has a 100% success rate!
~Greg Alexander (UCT Postgraduate Architecture student)
Having a helping hand to guide me through and tackle the lengthy process of creating an architecture portfolio provided great structuring and with the right level of guidance helped boost my confidence in my work. Ilhaam pushed me to produce a high standard of work and with her direction, I was successful in my application. I would recommend her to anyone who is serious about studying architecture and is willing to put in the work required.
~Rachel Herbert (UCT Architecture student)
I first met Ilhaam in 2010, when I did a part-time oil painting class at Ruth Prowse School of Art. When I started making art again in 2020, remembering how incredibly insightful she was, I actively hunted her down and joined in the Developing Your Artist Identity course. Not coming from an academic Fine Art background, I found this course simply mind-blowing – I learned so much and came away with a whole new perspective on art, my own work, and the creative process.
It led to private lessons with Ilhaam, which has shaped and improved my career trajectory, technique, and my understanding more than I can express. Ilhaam lights up my mind, challenges me and without fail, always makes my art better.
She has an amazing and gentle presence; never prescriptive, always questioning, always funny and an absolute pleasure to work with. All I can say to any prospective art student or practising artist is JUST DO IT! I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
~Niki McQueen (Practising Artist)
I have been immersed in a world of art and design my entire life but have always battled to identify myself as a true artist, and didn’t know where to start with finding my own personal style.
Ilhaam skillfully tapped into my subconscious artist and guided me through incredible processes that gave me clear direction with regards to what techniques and styles to explore and develop.
Classes with Ilhaam have been a life changing experience and I will be forever grateful to her for her enthusiasm and support of my work.
~Kim Slater (Fine Artist)
My experience with Ilhaam was extremely positive and productive. She guided me through the UCT architecture portfolio required to apply to their undergraduate program. Applications can be overwhelming and intimidating, but with her help and teaching I created a body of work that I was proud of and that got me accepted into the program. Ilhaam is kind and warm and nurturing, and her creativity and passion for art teaching is clear and inspiring.
~ Katie Thomas (Postgraduate Architecture Student, UCT)
Ilhaam has been my mentor and dear friend for nine years. She inspired and facilitated my career shift from advertising to peruse my dream of studying Fine Art. I treasure our sessions together because Ilhaam’s unique, personalised methods always bring fresh concepts to the surface. With her support and guidance, I have made important self discoveries which have informed my practice and elevated my craft. Ilhaam’s wealth of experience and extensive knowledge of the creative arts flows effortlessly through her teaching.
~ Jenna Barbe (Fine Artist)
Working with Ilhaam was a seamless, enjoyable, and easy to follow process. In our few sessions Ilhaam taught me all the basic practices and techniques needed to successfully complete my portfolio. Over the course of the program, we went through various exciting drawing techniques, a barrage of different uses of materials and mediums, playing with negative space and an overall exploration of the task at hand. In this process I was able to learn about my own capabilities and how I was able to push myself to complete a task I previously never thought I would be able to achieve, in turn, finding a new passion for art. Not only did Ilhaam assist me in completing a well put together portfolio which would secure a place for me in my current degree, but the lessons I learnt in the program still currently benefit me with regard to the work we currently do. The overall experience I had during this program is one that I will cherish throughout my studies. The program was eye-opening, and I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to have worked with Ilhaam.
To anyone who is looking to learn more about art, be-it a beginner or an experienced artist, or anyone who is looking to build a portfolio that stands out to a greater audience, I would highly recommend Ilhaam’s program with promised results.
~Isa Ahmed (UCT Architecture Student)
I love working with Ilhaam. She just has the magic ingredients you need when you are struggling to find your artistic voice. She has great academic command of the subject combined with the experience of many years of teaching tertiary students, however what makes Ilhaam special is her amazing ability to make you feel undaunted and empowered. This is a perfect combination.
You simply know her guidance is spot on, but you don’t feel dictated to. She is able to draw out what it is you are trying to express, what it is that makes your art unique, in short, she opens up the box and lets you out. There are a few major art world superstars out there who were ‘let out’ by Ilhaam and never looked back. And I forgot to say she is lots of fun to be with.
~Karen Elkington (Fine Art student, Ruth Prowse School of Art)