Roman Mendieta
The Fire Within the Eye’s Desire

On September 30, 1762, an article was written for the New York Gazette. This article stated that an African-American by the name of Adonia (also known as Duca) ran away from his “master.” He decided to be free on September 26 because he was whipped the day before. This man was able to read and write Dutch while being able to speak English. Along with being literate, he also had skills in the blacksmith trade, carpenter trade, and could also make shoes. This shows his intelligence for a man in his position yet he was still punished by his so-called “master.” He realized that this is not the life he wanted for himself so he made a choice. His choice was to leave his terrible past behind him and start a new life. As I began to read the advertisement, I thought of Adonia looking back at what could have happened if he had stayed. I thought of him seeing his body and dignity being burned. This is what sparked the idea of my artwork. I started to draw an enlargement of his eyes and his nose in pencil. I then went over my markings in water color paint. I first painted his skin, and then I went later into detail with his eyes. In the end, I added the burning human-like fire in the middle of his iris. This symbolizes his last minutes as a slave and the transition into a free man. As the fire in his eyes turn to ashes, he is no longer Duca, but instead Adonia. Although he pretends to be free in public, he will forever be spiritually free.

2008 Winners

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