Students represent ‘Black Resistance’ in Black History Month art contest
MATTAPOISETT— Deciding the winners of the 2023 Black History Month Creative Expressions contest was so difficult that the judges considered splitting the prize between every contestant according to Tri-Town Against Racism President Alison Noyce.
“The quality of the entries were so spectacular that our judges had a really difficult time trying to pick the top three,” Noyce said.
Judges Frances Feliz Kearns, Jason Chisholm and Janis Johnson, narrowed the eight entries down to three winners.
Evan LaPointe of Rochester took first place, Ryleigh DeMelo of Rochester placed second and Janice Delancey of Carver placed third.
All three are students at Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School.
According to Noyce, this is the third Black History Month Creative Expressions Contested hosted at the Mattapoisett Museum.
“We really wanted to do something to get the community involved,” she said.
The contest was open to all junior high and high school students across the Tri-Town, but in an effort to be inclusive, participants did not have to be a resident of the Tri-Town.
This year, Noyce said that the contest followed the national Black History Month theme of Black Resistance. The past two themes were “Beyond Martin and Rosa,” and “Game Changers and Influencers.”
According to the Tri-town Against Racism website, Black Resistance means to “advocate for a dignified self-determined life in a just democratic society in the United States and beyond the United States political jurisdiction.”
Judges based their decision on how well each piece conveyed the theme, ultimately choosing LaPointe’s piece as the winner.
His piece consisted of portraits of important figures of the Civil Rights Movement arranged to spell out the word “resistance.”
“People were just really moved that it's chronological,” said Noyce. The piece begins with a portrait of Harriet Tubman arranged to look like the letter “R” and ends with an image of the 2020 protests designed to look like the letter “E”.
Second place winner Ryleigh DeMelo’s collage used old news clippings to convey the hardships of Black Americans,while a painted image of a protest sign reads “respect my existence or expect my resistance.”
“These things happened in the past, but this isn't over,” said Noyce referring to the piece’s meaning.
According to Noyce, the judges noted how they would love to see any piece that was submitted on a tote bag or t-shirt.
“How can we get all this cool art out into the world?” asked Noyce. “It's so impressive.”
The exhibit will be on display at the Mattapoisett Museum until March 26.