Honorable Mention
Micole Woo
Fear of the Dark

When our teacher talked to us about the “Pretends to be Free” art contest I imagined in my mind darkness. To me slavery is a disconcerting and horrific part of our country’s past. For this contest I imagined a slave running with fear across her face looking back at pursuers in the distance coming to take them back to her life of abuse. I also realized, from looking at the title of the contest, that these slaves were almost literally pretending to be free. Because even though in the time they managed to stay away from their slave owners they were free from their grasps, in the eyes of the law they were still slaves— still property.

To me the scratchboard was the perfect choice for conveying my feelings about slavery, and how runaway slaves must have felt. I imagined that they would have been filled with fear, and worried that someone would catch them and bring them back to their owner. I felt that in order to do the slave I chose (and all those before and after her) justice I had to convey the true and basic feelings of a slave, and the fear and urgency they must have felt after they ran away. Running away isn't easy, and often didn't work out.

Out of all the ads I chose one that talked about a woman named Nell. To me what stood out about her was that she had on a lot of different layers of clothes. The only thing the slave owner used to describe her was the diamond markings on her face, her slim body type, and the clothing she wore (which held lots of blue coloring). They talked about her like property; something lost that could be bought back. To me the color of her clothing stood out.

Wanting to emphasize the most important parts of the scene in my mind I thought that her blue cloak, the fire from her pursuers torch, and the darkness that surrounded her should be what stood out the most. To me the darkness not only stood for the literal darkness around her as she's running away, but also the fear that she felt and the dark side of her pursuers. This was essential to my piece and takes up the majority of it. The black of the scratchboard provided the darkness I needed, and the use of watercolor over her cloak and her pursuers torch allowed me to highlight the only thing that really helped them identify one another in the dark.


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