The QCC Art Gallery of the City University of New York

Kin: Contemplations by High School for Art & Business
Kin: Contemplations
High School for Art & Business
June 23 through July 23, 2016
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Participating Arts & Statements

Susan Barrese
My mom, dad and I decided to make a fun but serious project for our family. I gave them a piece of paper along with a maker and asked them to write down a word that they think defines themselves. It took them a while to think of one word, but they got their words! As you can see in the picture, I gave them animal heads. You’re probably thinking, “What’s with the animal heads? What’s its purpose?“ I chose to incorporate heads of their favorite animals in their portrait, which defines and describes them in an unconventional way. Animal heads provoke thought about the animal; its characteristics, how cute, gentle, scary, or vicious it may be. That can also lead you to imagining my parents’ personalities.

Kimberly Basurto
My mom is someone who has had a big impact in my life by playing both parental roles. She has always sacrificed the majority of her life for us, her kids, even going through the unimaginable just to provide the best she could for us. She has always been so open minded and accepting of my interests and goals in life. She always shows her support for the things I love, making our bond so much stronger. I admire my mom for being able to move on through the things she has had to face and for being able to get back up, with her children always in mind.

Jeff Bermejo
My dad came to the United States looking for what many people call “The American Dream.” He decided to make his voyage to the United States because at the time he was in Ecuador, finding a job was an issue for many people. Further, the wages were not enough to pay for food, the bills, and rent. Therefore, my dad decided to come to the United States in search of new opportunities, as well as to help improve the living conditions for my family in Ecuador.

Nowell Cheng
I am blessed. I am privileged, yet I never earned.
I stand in my place, never wondering how i got here.
Until, one day, when I finally saw.
My exhausted, loving, suffering, and hardworking parents,
Who’ve labored and struggled ever since they were young.
Continuing to the moment they met, till this very day.
Pushing themselves, to do and provide more for the children they love.
Casting away their dreams, goals, and wishes for my brother and I.
But they are hardly ever given thanks and praises for all the sacrifices made.
Till the moment when I realized I lived a life not provided to them.
This blessed life only possible because of their labor, effort, diligence, determination, endeavor, and perseverance.
I’m privileged, then most, but I’ve learned to appreciate, not luck, not God, not the Universe, but my mom and dad, who gave me life and have done everything to ensure my welfare.
Dedicated to Lisa Chung and Stephen Cheng, for all those times I’ve been ignorant and hateful. - Nowell

Andrea Galeano
This is a portrait that represents my mother and I. My mother is my everything. I love her above all things in this world, not only because she gave me life and raised me by herself, but also because she’s always been there for me. She gave me the opportunity to come to America and get a better education. The reason why I admire her the most is because she made this a possibility knowing we didn’t have family in America. She puts me first no matter what the cost but she does this from the kindness of her heart. She is the type of person that endeavors to go the extra mile for the ones she loves. The reason why I did this portrait of her is because she is the only person that I really love and she put a lot of effort to bring both of us forward.

Kusang Gurung
I decided to do my project on my sister, Kushu Gurung, and my mom, Kartok Fnu. The reason I did the project on them is because I look up to them as role models. They have always been supportive of me even when I have acted stubborn and uncooperative. Ever since I was a kid, my sister and my aunt have always looked after me, after my mother left to the U.S. when we were young to provide us (my sister and I) with whatever we needed. My sister and my aunt were a huge part of my life because it was mainly them who were looking after me. I haven't talked to my aunt because I rarely get the chance to. I would have included her in the portrait but sadly I don't have any pictures of her. My dad is also a huge role model for me but I wanted to praise the women of my family. My mom and dad both gave up what they had in Nepal to look for a better life in the U.S. for us. Since then they have not stopped working hard to give what they did not have to us. Even though my sister and I sometimes drive our parents crazy, we never take them for granted.

Jacob Janz
I wanted theprojectto feel homey, as that is the focal point of my pieces. ‘Sanctuary’ is the one word that I could best associate my home and myfamilywith. I spent a good amount of time finding the most appropriate vocabulary and wording for myproject. Since typography is the main aspect of my piece, I experimented with many different serif and sans serif fonts, as I didn’t want the overallprojectto be either too decorated or too unprofessional. ‘Sanctuary’ gets to the point, and doesn’t sugar coat the topic. I cherish and appreciate myfamily, my home, and my neighborhood; it is, without a doubt, my sanctuary. It was mycreative intent to express thisin the most simplistic and straightforwardway possible.

Cassidy James
All of my siblings are adopted. There are five of us, and I'm the only child who is the biological result of our parents. I feel like when people learn that someone you love was adopted, they automatically assume that the family bond isn't real anymore. I've heard countless times, "So, is she your real sister?" Yes, she is. Being adopted doesn't mean that you're not a "real" member of the family. My siblings are just as loved, valued, and respected as I am. It doesn’t matter whom they were birthed to, because together, we create a family. That is why I created this portrait. Each image is a part of our faces, compiled together in a frame. The words around it are from a song that I hold dear to my heart. All that I want to convey through this image is that "It's not where you come from, it's where you belong."

Jocelyne Jara
Moving to a different state during the school year has been one of the hardest things my mom and I have had to go through. Having the opportunity to make a video about it and show people what it was like to move to a completely different state in only one week has been great because through this I feel that people can understand me. Through my eyes, people will see the struggle my mom and I went through in order to improve our lives. Luckily, we have been leading better, happier lives here.

Michael Jaskowski
One of the most important figures in anyone’s life is their mother. To me, my mom is the world. She dealt with so many hardships and made many sacrifices in order to make my life a great one. So when Ms. Suk told us to make a documentary about someone important, I immediately knew I had to talk about my mother. I knew I had to tell people about the difficult journey my mother embarked on, coming here to America, and then overcoming the difficulty of raising two children as a single mother.

Adison Lemmon
To be able to create something for this project, I needed a heartfelt photo. I figured that my parents’ wedding would make a perfect painting. My parents have done so much for me that I wanted to show my appreciation through my painting. They are always working hard and doing things for me. I knew that their wedding was the happiest day for everyone, even if it didn't start out that way. This picture expresses all the love and happiness that they would share for a lifetime. This painting is to commemorate almost nine years of love and marriage.

Leanne Menguito
Myart piece portrays three generations of my family: myself, my mother, and my grandmother. I live with my grandmother for an unknown reason, but my mother live nearby with my other siblings. Mygrandmother gave a huge helping hand in raising me, while my mother offered her support as well. The purpose of this artwork is to portray the closeness betweenus women. I can proudly say that I have a relationship with my grandmother that is different from many other people my age. Despite living with my grandmother, I am able to maintain a normal mother-daughter relationship with my mother. It is an unusual family dynamic that is difficult to explain, but I do not necessarily mind it.

Leanne Menguito
This piece is a representation of my grandmother through typography. The words that I used to portray her are rooted in the concept of family. I chose my grandmother because I have lived with her ever since I was born. These arrangements have had a huge impact on my character. I wanted to convey this impact through the positive and negative space. Through this portrait, I hope to convey the meaning of family, and the importance my grandmother holds for me.

Mariana Michaca
This video is meant to underscore the path that many immigrants from Latin America take in search of the American Dream. This is something that my parents and I went through. My mother, my father, and I crossed the Mexican-American border in pursuit of a better life for my brothers and I. This included escaping violence and receiving a better education. Although we left so many loved ones back home, as many immigrants do everyday, it was all worth it. Hopefully, we get to go back home someday.

Maria Montes
The person I chose to draw is my younger sister. I chose her because I’m closer to her. I can trust her with anything. Sometimes we give each other advice. Since we’re only two years apart, she understands me. Sometimes we get in fights about things. Both of us like the same music and like to go shopping. I remember when my mom used to dress us in the same clothes so we were always matching. When I was first coming to the U.S., I was scared to come by myself. So my mom decided that my sister would come with me so I would not be alone. This made us closer. She is the most important person to me.

Chelsea Morales
This is my sister and my best friend; we do almost everything together. She is a very adventurous person and she loves to see new places. Although she went through a lot, she still managed to pick herself back up, something I admire very much. I love looking at her when she has a smile on her face.

Yesenia Rojas
The focus of my drawing is a friend of mine whose name is Sarah-Kay Basil. She was born in Beirut, Lebanon. In her home, she had been faced with constant danger because of the bombings that took place during that time. One night while she was sleeping, Syrians went to the heart of downtown, where the prime minister lived, and half of her house was blown apart. Her parents attempted to distract her because, at the time, she was only six years old; they didn't want her to be scared. They moved from place to place, escaping the destruction from the bombings and near deaths. While they were trying to flee, the airports were bombed. She waited three weeks before the refugee ships from America came. She has lived in America ever since, but regardless of the war going on, she wants to go back to live in her country. I picked her because I admire her bravery. I admire her courage in coming to this country and talking about her experiences in Lebanon. She says she is not afraid and that she wants to help create peace in her country. She is 17 now and she lives a very happy, beautiful life. She is grateful for being alive and any chance she gets she tries to go to Lebanon. The picture is supposed to depict her in her country smiling even though there is destruction in the back. Even someone who goes through pain and loss can be a happy person. I admire her and I wanted to tell her story in my drawing. A lot of people tend to stereotype Arabs as terrorists. She is very far from that. My drawing is supposed to tell the real life story of many Arabs in their countries that suffer due to terrorism.

Layla Rodriguez
I chose my mother because she is the light of my life. She's always full of life and has the best energy to be around. She always knows to when to pick me up if I'm feeling down. She would do anything to make the best out of things. I love my mother and she's my biggest inspiration.

Braxthon Saula
Family is a word I never really thought too much about. To me family has always been about the people who have been loyal to me through the hardest of times and who have stuck around. Family is not necessarily linked to those who have the same blood as you; family regards those who are willing to shed blood with you and for you.

Celine Sierra
I chose my mother for this project for many reasons. My mother is an independent, hard working, single parent. She is a strong woman and is very dedicated to her work. She came to the U.S. from Colombia at the age of 19 to start a new life. As time passed, she learned how to do things on her own, which made her independent. She has a unique personality. My mother is incredibly humorous and energetic. She always finds a way to put a smile on someone’s face. She is one of those people who will give someone a shoulder to cry on. Although she has two children, she only raised me on her own. My mother has worked for a bus company for many years and has her own office. This shows her dedication and commitment to her work. All of her hard work pays off in the end. For these reasons, I chose my mother for this project.

Joyce Tan
This is Joan, my twin sister. She is five minutes older than me. We were born on Christmas Eve. When we were born we weighed the same amount and we were also the same size. People always confuse us for each other. Many people think we look alike, but have different personalities. However we believe that we don't look alike, and we actually think alike. We went to the same elementary, middle, and high school. We also live together, so I see her all the time.

Emily Torres
The warm embraces and big smiles of those I love is what inspires me to continue being the person I am and admire those who surround me. I do not consider family blood-related members only. My family consists of loyal and loving people who I can depend on and enjoy my time with. The geometric patterns my work consists of allows me to crop the photos I've chosen and focus them on the gestures and facial expressions made, emphasizing the emotions and actions that are often shared between family members and myself. Actions that prove loyalty and love are more important than genetics that place a stamp of approval on who is considered family.

Yarlin Vargas
I chose my mother because she is a very strong woman. She stuck through the hard times during the period of my father's depression when we moved to Florida back in 2003. She had to comfort the family while my father was depressed. Thispiece reflects her bravery, her dedication, and how she stands up for the people she loves.

Xi Wang
My brother, who is fourteen years younger than me, was born on July 11th, 2012. I had never liked little kids, thinking they were evil, but when I first held him in my arms, he felt so little with his big innocent eyes looking at me, I knew I wanted to protect him. While my parents are busy working, I’m the one who changes his diapers, takes him to school, and plays with him. When my mom yells at me for doing something bad, he’ll always stand in front of me and try to protect me, which sometimes upsets my mom, but I can feel that he really loves me. This artwork is based on a picture that was taken on his third birthday. Having him as my brother is the luckiest thing that has happened in my life.

Ying Zhang
When reminded of the concept of family, I immediately refer back to my Chinese descent and how it impacted the structure of my family. My primary intuitive image of my family was of my parents arguing, and therefore I wanted to illustrate the conflicts in my family through the use of zodiac depictions. My dad (rooster) fights with my mom (dog) while my sister (dog) and I (tiger) rest quietly. I incorporated wolf-like features to the dog and phoenix-like features to the rooster to further enhance the drama. Moreover, I used less volatile colors in the smaller animals to contrast with the ongoing quarrel. Ultimately, I employed a symbolic representation to convey a universal concept of family.

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