Maurice McDonough senior wins statewide art contest
Work to be displayed at Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture
A Maurice McDonough High School senior’s art imploring an end to gun violence has been recognized with top honors by a Balti- more museum of African-American histor y and culture.
Chinazam Ojukwu, 17, of White Plains, won first place in the Ninth Annual High School Juried Art Show at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture in Baltimore.
Every year, the museum holds an art competition for Maryland 10th to 12th grade public school students, with a different theme each
year, said Roni Jolley, director of education for the museum.
This year’s theme was “Stop the Violence: A Call to Action.” Students were asked to create a poster for gun violence prevention or a vision of peace.
“We wanted students, through their own ar- tistic vision, to educate the community on gun violence,” Jolley said.
Ojukwu said she learned of the competi- tion from her art teacher and decided to submit an entry.
“I was so stuck on what to draw, because the rules said, don’t draw guns,” Ojukwu said.
Ojukwu said she hit on the idea of having her brother Joseph, a third grader, hold up a sign saying “Stop Gun Violence,” which she drew with pencil and titled “Listen to the Youth.”
Jolley said the museum received more than 50 submissions from students all over Mary- land.
“[Ms.] Ojukwu’s work poignantly expresses the impact on young people of gun violence and the importance of putting an end to it,” Jolley said in an email.
Ojukwu said she was on vacation in Nigeria during Christmas break when she learned she had won the competition.
“I was so happy; I was so surprised, too,” Ojukwu said.
In addition to the $400 first place prize, Ojukwu was invited to attend the museum’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Breakfast, where her work was displayed.
Ojukwu’s work, along with more than 25 other submissions, will be on display at the museum as part of its Black History Month program, from Feb. 1 to March 5.
A special showing will be held Feb. 12 at the museum from 2 to 4 p.m.
Ojukwu said she hopes her work can add to the conversation about gun violence.
“I think the cause — stopping gun violence — is very important. The numbers last year for Baltimore are high, and I think that with art and with talking about it more we can get the message out to people,” Ojukwu said.
“Listen to the Youth” by Chinazam Ojukwu, a Maurice J. McDonough High School senior, won first place in the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture’s Ninth Annual High School Juried Art Show in Baltimore.