Children's Craft: Self Portraits

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On January 25th, CERI (Center for Empowering Refugees and Immigrants) hosted ARTogether again for a children’s workshop taught by Sophia. The previous workshops highlighted and discussed a prominent female artist and created a piece inspired by her work. ARTogether was joined by a group of 4 middle school age girls and a friend in high school.

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The workshop began with a conversation about Frida Kahlo and her life, a very sad story that has moved people worldwide. Amazingly, most of the girls had already learned about Frida Kahlo in school and shared their own knowledge on her. They spoke on Kahlo’s use of self-portraiture to tell her life story through her art. Sophia invited the girls to create their own self portrait with whatever symbols reflected them at this time in their lives. Pencils, markers, and paper were laid out on the table and they were ready to begin.

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After a few minutes of self reflection, everyone started drawing and the pages came to life, windows to each individual in the circle. Filling the pages were flags, animals, pillows, bands, and colors, each representative of something unique to the artist. The conversation focused a lot on identity and living between worlds due to the cultural differences of American culture versus Cambodian or Pakistani culture.

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The girls talked about their own experiences being Cambodian in the US highlighting cultural aspects like food, music, and language that they really appreciated sharing with their families and friends. They all agreed that they felt more Cambodian than American despite having grown up in the US. 

Once the pieces were completed, the girl went around and talked about how their drawings represented who they were. Almost everyone drew the Cambodian flag, except for one girl who only drew a picture of her pillow, representative of how much she enjoys spending time in bed. The conversation traveled through the portraits exploring each symbol that the girls hold important at this time of their lives.