Houston, texas – 2021 Memorial High School graduate Kunyang Li will have his artwork hung in the Capitol in Washington DC
“He caught my eye because he was wearing a cowboy hat and a plaid shirt… he looked like a cowboy,” Li said in his job description. “Instead of a horse, his mount was his truck (‘I ride a steel horse”). He truly represented an essential cowboy. I am grateful to these men and women who made our country run through our darkest days. “
Li’s colored pencil drawing, according to a statement from Spring Branch ISD, features a truck driver he photographed in the parking lot of a grocery store in the summer of 2020. The artwork, titled Cowboy essential, is intended to honor the essential workers who have kept the country running throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. It was one of the pieces he created for his Advanced Placement Drawing portfolio of working class-focused artwork.
Cowboy essential was selected by Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher as the 2021 winner of the Texas Seventh District Congressional Art Competition. “Her thoughtful piece reflects not only her skills, but also the values of our community,” said Fletcher in a Press release announcing the winner. “I thank him and all the students who submitted their works in this competition, demonstrating a talent and a community commitment that represent our community well.”
Li’s work will be on display at the United States Capitol along with art from other students across the country, the statement said. His work was also among the top 10 finalists in the competition from the previous year.
“I can’t express how excited I am for this amazing young man,” said Elisa Barry, art teacher at Memorial High School. “Kunyang’s courage, persistence, and dedication to his craft are just a few of the traits that make him one of the best art students I have ever taught.”
Li also expressed his gratitude to his art teacher, saying, “I would never be where I am without his support.”
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