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Akilah, a sophomore at Eastern Senior High School in Northeast Washington, D.C. was named Google’s big winner in the national in the “Doodle 4 Google” contest for elementary through high school students., topping the 53 state and territory champions, whose work had been culled from about 100,000 student entries.
This year’s contest theme was: “What makes me…me.”
Akilah drew a box-braided Doodle, titled “My Afrocentric Life,” using color pencils, black crayons and Sharpie markers. The Doodle includes symbols of black heritage and signs representing the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I based this picture off my lifestyle,” she stated as part of her entry. “I’ve always been encouraged to pursue art, especially by my teachers. Participating in Doodle 4 Google gave me an understanding of why art matters and why MY art matters—because it speaks to people.
No matter our differences, everyone is touched by art in some way. Winning this competition opened my eyes to the many types of art and the many ways it can resonate with people. I’m excited to keep creating art that matters.”
Akilah’s composition reflects bright childhood themes on the left, then moves into more serious reflections on society. “Just as we read from left to right, my goal was to make the picture turn heads from the color to the meaning,” Akilah told Comic Riffs. “I have a book that I use that’s full [of] quotes, and the one I went by for this picture was:
‘Be the type of person [who] not only turns heads, but turns souls.’ ”
“Of all the things I chose to include, the six most special to me are the Symbol of Life [the ankh], the African continent, where everything began for me and my ancestors, the Eye of Horus, the word ‘power’ drawn in black, the woman’s fist based on one of my favorite artist’s works, and the D.C. flag — because I’m a Washingtonian at heart and I love my city with everything in me!”
For this year’s contest, students created doodles that told the world “What makes me…me.” Kids have all kinds of things that make them unique, so they could use all kinds of materials to create their doodles, from crayons, to clay, to yarn, to graphic design, even food and video games. As with every Doodle 4 Google contest, the winner’s artwork is featured on the Google homepage for a day.