Third Place
Tyesha Carter | Nelson Mandela High School

Violet was the runaway in the ad in the New York Royal Gazette dated May 24, 1783. I decided to paint her simply because she spoke to me. She made me think about how hard it is to keep a roof over your head if you have two children nowadays. Being a slave was so much worse. It meant that you probably did not have the kind of knowledge that you needed to pass on to your children for them to succeed in life. Most slaves didn’t have a chance for anything close to happiness.

As an African-American, it really hurt my feelings to read this ad. It describes Violet like she is a lost dog to be returned for a reward. She is a human being. She should have the freedom to walk where she wants and talk to whoever she wishes. The only way she would be able to teach her children to become successful is to become educated and for me that is through reading. To my knowledge, most slaves did not have the leisure time or the opportunity to do this.

My painting represents Violet as a free woman lounging in her bedroom reading. She is a mother gathering knowledge not only for herself but for her two little boys who are outside playing with their father. I chose her clothing and the room décor to reflect the colonial era in which she would be living. I wanted her to look calm and relaxed, no longer worrying about the fate of her children now that they were free from the horrors of slavery.


2009 Artists

Kirsten Sawyer (1)
Randy Wallace (2)
Tyesha Carter (3)
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Ijayna Barnes (HM)
Gabrielle Gardner (HM)
Suzanna Cole (HM)
Sarah Hartdke (HM)
Liam Houghtaling (HM)
John Morocho (HM)
Chris Nixon (HM)