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Cross-Cultural Contest

2023 Arts Contest Winners

PCCU is happy to announce the winners from the 2023 Cross-Cultural Contest: Arts. After careful review, we selected 3 winners (Prize: 1st-place winner - a $300 Amazon gift card, 2nd-place winner - a $150 Amazon gift card, 3rd place winner - a $50 Amazon gift card) . Thank you everyone for your inspiring submissions! Please celebrate with us and view their photos and writings. Also, look out for 2024's contest coming soon!

23 Contest Winners: Text
KomalpreetKaur 2.tif

First Place Winner

Komalpreet Kaur

11th grader at the Institute for Health Professions at Cambria Heights (Teacher: Hyun Ju Tsoutsouras 안현주 / Korean teacher)

Scroll down to see read more about her two works of art.

23 Contest Winners: Image

Tears of the Wilderness

"When growing up, one thing we all had in common was a teddy bear, or any stuffed animal. A stuffed animal that would give us happiness and comfort as a kid. When we get older, some of us start owning pets, which we end up sharing a unique bond with and end up developing attachments with because of the companionship they provide us with, a form of love is being given and received. But have we ever thought about animals that live in the wilderness or stray animals? We may call ourselves animal lovers but end up ignoring strays. When drawing this painting, I also thought about animals that have lost their homes due to natural disasters, such as wildfires, which proved many animals to enter the city, which we humans immediately took as a negative thing, a form of danger. During COVID-19, we felt like animals because we were in lockdowns, but animals that are shown for our entertainment in zoos may feel like that too, they are used as a form of business and advertisement, and most products we use on ourselves are tested and if you search that up you would know how cruel it is. This painting showed a bear that is crying, when I drew this I thought about a Baby bear whose mom was captured to be placed in a zoo because she was seen as a DANGER in her own HOME. Maybe we should take a moment and think about what's happening to animals in our world. And the reason why they are treated so badly?"

23 Contest Winners: Text
Being a Female
23 Contest Winners: Image

Being a Female

"I believe that every human being struggles whether it's a male or a female in this world to survive or complete their legend. A personal legend is a goal you always dreamed of or a desire that you want to accomplish. Since I am a female from a cultured background I believe that even though all human beings struggle, females end up struggling more. In this drawing, I drew a female that's wrapped in a red rope held in a place, this can be related to a cage but when I was painting this the red rope represented something. This red rope represents negativity and responsibilities that tie a female leading her to not move forward with her life and or completing her goal, leading her to be stuck in one place. The red rope can represent traditional culture; in most parts of the world, the only role a woman is shown playing is being in charge of taking care of their elders, and children and completing their household tasks by being a HOMEMAKER, they are expected to cook, clean and do other stuff related to running a household. Males were always expected to be the ones leaving the house and work. In most undeveloped countries females were stopped from gaining too much education because then when they come to the age of marriage their parents have to find a groom who has gained more knowledge because men were always supposed to be a level above the female. When also looking at society's expectations, if a female is beautiful she is more likely not to gain insecurities—additionally looking at statistics women are paid less than men. At last, this all is related to my painting because it holds the dream of a female who wishes to also be free without getting tied by this society."

23 Contest Winners: Text
23 Contest Winners: Image

Second Place Winner

Amy Stamm

Teacher, Special Education 9-12th Grade

Hampshire Educational Collaborative (HEC) Academy, MA

I love this photo not just for its composition, but because of the moment in the 2023 PCCU conference that it portrays. After Theresa Kang announced that the teacher of the scheduled calligraphy workshop was unable to teach it, workshop participants with a background in calligraphy immediately volunteered to help novices to learn basic calligraphy techniques. In the foreground is Chanhee Suh, a high school student who presented at the conference on her brilliant AP art project reimagining characters from Korean mythology. And next to her is another participant who had studied calligraphy and generously jumped in to help collectively teach it. All of the participants worked together and supported each other, and in the end, the workshop was a memorable success. This workshop, like so many at the conference, gave a place of honor to traditional Korean art forms.

Amy photo_essay_submission.tiff

Third Place Winner

Aruha Syed 

Student at the Institute for Health Professions at Cambria Heights (Teacher: Hyun Ju Tsoutsouras 안현주 / Korean teacher)

Fake or not? How can you tell?

I've always been a fast texter

Perhaps it's because I'm constantly on my phone

Or maybe it's because some days I feel completely alone

That allows me to have a small superpower

The power to notice small changes

Such as when people's typing styles become a bit stranger

They can go from sending emojis to a one-word exchange

I try to keep conversation going because I care about people I know

And they were responding so fast

It's weird that now they're so slow

I only have a few people in my circle

Honestly, I try to keep it pretty small

Friends I know would pick up 

If I suddenly decide to call

When new people try to join

I don't mind

I'm very lenient

But they'd only answer when it was convenient

The worst ones? The crushes

Some you don't know very well

They might be interested in you

But really, how can you tell?

When you really need someone 

Some people, so fake, they'd never even know 

So when you have your own celebration

Your own inner circle

They'd want to be on that list of invites

But before...

Breakdown after breakdown

They couldn't have cared any less

So when you're at the top

When you've cleared out your mess

That's when they express

That they want you around

I'm judged 
What is it really like to be a woman? 
You must walk in pairs when it's dark outside 
And only the paths with streetlights 
I'm judged 
Make sure your phone,
fully charged before exiting your home 
Don't forget to message your friends 
When you safely return 
I'm judged 
Cover your figure 
That skirt is too short 
Cover your legs 
And just like that, you're considered an object 
I'm judged 
The lengths some must go through to be safe? Too much to even say

We also have a fear of looking good 
Just to fit what other people think 
But what do I think? 
I think that I don't wanna wear makeup for the rest of my life 
I don't wanna wear a mask to look good 
It's the same as lying, in my opinion 
Do this 
Do that 
I'm judged 
I don't want to be judged 
I want to be free 
Not like I'm living someone else's fantasy 
Of what I should be 
Good grades 
Little Miss Perfect 
Good makeup 
Little Miss Perfect 
Good behavior 
Little Miss Perfect 
I'm judged 
One mistake 
Little Miss Failure 
One breakdown 
Little Miss Failure 
One tear 
Little Miss Failure 
I'm judged 
I have a loud laugh 
But my tears will fill up the ocean 
I love like I've never been hurt before 
We're all judged 
We don't want to be judged 
we want to be free 

23 Contest Winners: Text

Continue below to see other amazing submissions we received for this year's contest. Select the images to magnify them and see the descriptions. Thank you to all who participated! 

23 Contest Winners: Text
23 Contest Winners: Pro Gallery
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