JERRY SHENG, In the Workshop, Photography. Grade 12, The Hotchkiss School, Lakeville, CT.

JERRY SHENG, In the Workshop, Photography. Grade 12, The Hotchkiss School, Lakeville, CT. The Harry and Betty Quadracci Art Portfolio

Completing our showcase of this year’s Gold Medal Portfolio recipients are Jerry Sheng and Vitoria Sana Perez. Jerry decided to explore societal issues and differences by spending several days during his summer break in China taking pictures of Yiwu, the world’s largest small commodities market. Vitoria writes about the shared cultural staples between the two sides of her family using a flowing, sequential narrative in order to facilitate understanding of and between these cultures.

Jerry Sheng

“In July, hundreds of factories were busy making the various Christmas decorations that needed to be assembled and shipped to every corner of the world before September…For the worldwide consumers who will buy these items, it may be hard to imagine that these decorations which bring them huge joy are manufactured in such small workshops by people who don’t even know the meaning of this holiday. Through photography, I want to inspire readers to think about those under-explored, relatively unknown worlds that exist in our society.”

JERRY SHENG, The Twins, Photography. Grade 12, The Hotchkiss School, Lakeville, CT.

JERRY SHENG, The Twins, Photography. Grade 12, The Hotchkiss School, Lakeville, CT. The Harry and Betty Quadracci Art Portfolio

Vitoria Sana Perez

“My writing often, if not most of the time, deals with these subjects as I grapple with them and experience them through a uniquely half Asian-American and female lens…This portfolio is a culmination of poetic works dealing with these subjects in a personal way but also in a way that I would hope a reader finds colloquial, homely, and familiar. I crafted this portfolio and the works in it in the hope that they remain not only accessible to readers of Asian backgrounds and other backgrounds alike, but also that they flow logically from one piece to the next, almost in a sequential and structured method.”

A Love Poem to My Hair
Grade 12, Poetry, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, New Orleans, LA. The Harry and Betty Quadracci Writing Portfolio

Oh, my hair!
You’ve been covered and you’ve been pinned and braided and straightened
and you’ve been left to grow wild like tendrily weeds sprouting and taking their own
direction from the root of my scalp
You’ve run down my back like a thick muddy waterfall and been made to splay out
on my pillow or to separate in the wind like the subtly pointing fingers of a kathak dancer.
You’ve gotten snagged within you grains of rice and viscous bits of
sweet, nutty korma and small crumbs and loose threads from my sweaters
You’ve gotten trapped under my purse strap and my backpack
You’ve been snagged on my dog’s paws or on the teeth of my wooden comb.
You’ve been hennaed and set ablaze by the sun, turning more ambery red than usual once
the sticky paste was washed out.
And you’ve been handled by other people who don’t know how you work, how particular
you are! You’ve been detangled by hands who don’t know that you’ll be angry with me for
a week for letting you be so egregiously mistreated.
You’ve been brushed for months back before I knew you didn’t like being brushed
And that you’d much prefer moisture and oils and to be washed upside down, to be
left to dry by open air or to be wrapped up sopping wet, cozy in a Tulane U t-shirt–that one’s your favorite–all that lest your curls turn to a formless, smoke-like cloud!
You’ve been neglected, you’ve been loved! You’ve sat through many of my experiments
and I’m both surprised and grateful that you love me back.

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