Okinawan student wins top prize in art contest in Florida

Okinawan student wins top prize in art contest in Florida

At her house in Kinjo Town, Shuri, Naha City, Hitomi Uezu shows the artwork that she painted during her stay in the United States.

July 26, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo

Okinawa Shogaku High School (Naha City) second year student Hitomi Uezu (17 years-old) has won the top prize in an art contest in Florida.
When in Florida as an exchange student at Jensen Beach High School on a scholarship program supported by the Okinawa Prefectural Government from August 2010 to June 2011, she painted about 20 works, and gained recognition from the local community. The local newspaper even ran an article about her achievements.
Uezu commented, “I now realize that art is universal and that its power transcends language barriers.”
She looked back on her experience in the United States and happily talked about its appeal.

Uezu has been painting since she was a small child, but the purpose of her study abroad was to learn English and further international exchange. Nevertheless, her love of beautiful things made her start painting.
Uezu said, “I thought everything was beautiful and artistic – the decorations of houses, the smells.”

She presented her works at several regional art contests, one of which received as many as 185000 entries in 30 categories such as “Poems” and “Novels.”
Uezu won the top prize in these contests, allowing her to enter the national competition.

One of her award-winning works, in fact her favorite, is called “Love Peggy,” a painting dedicated to her local host mother. Her host mother’s eyes glistened with emotion when she told to Peggy Hess the title of the painting.

Uezu said, “I am grateful to all those people in the United States who were so kind to me, and to the foundation and the school that gave me the opportunity to go to America.”
“I think it is important for me to focus not only on art but also on academics. I would like to study a range of subjects and add breadth to my art.”

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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