Honorable Mention
Kahlilah Shahara Lilley
Cliff to Freedom

The advertisement about the runaway slave named Ben (September 4, 1766) was my choice because of the fact that I thought Ben was very intelligent. Before, white Americans portrayed slaves as being ignorant and plain stupid. But that was not the fact. This man had a great plan to fool his owner into thinking that he was going for a swim. But he never returned; which caught my eye because it showed that he was pretty clever. The clever thing that he did was threw away his clothes so that the whites couldn’t identify him if they wanted to, because they didn’t know what he was wearing. This proves here that African Americans weren’t as “unknowledgeable” as some would have made us think.

The biases contained in an ad written by a slave owner affected me greatly in part because I am an African American myself. The ways they describe slaves were that they were like lost dogs, not a humans. They make slaves look very bad, especially if it wasn’t their first time ever running away. The use of terms like “negro” affected me in a way that I never been affected before in my life. It also bothered me that whites would brand slaves by putting engravings on their skin as if they were animals. That is not a way to treat any human being.

The process I used to create my artwork was to think of a way I thought made a person be free. The man Ben stuck out for me because the act of throwing his clothes away was a symbol of freedom, almost like a new start. When you throw away something, that’s like saying “gone with the old, in with the new.” I interpreted this as if Ben were saying he was giving himself a fresh start. My artwork is also near a shore and Ben is standing as if he is about to jump off the cliff into the water because he is on his way to freedom one way or another, no matter what. The sky in my artwork has “freedom” written in it because Ben is looking toward the sky thinking he is finally off to freedom.
In my art class we had an assignment to draw a sculpture. While drawing my sculpture it reminded me of the muscular hardworking slaves. The medium I used was Conte crayon and charcoal. The colors blended well which made me like my artwork very much. Living close to the Hudson River made me want to include something in my environment which represents me and where I live. This piece I believe represents me as a person and the ways slaves tried to be free.

2008 Winners

Sisi Li (1)
Lia Rothschild (2)
Gus Boehling (3)
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Dustin Capek (H)
Keith Greenbaum (H)
Kahlilah Shahara Lilley (H)
Micole Woo (H)
Samantha Wilcox (H)
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Dara Illowsky
Yingna Liu
Roman Mendieta
Amanda Murray
Shannon Murray
Ali Simon-Fox
Megan Wachs