2024 Visual Arts  Winners


The opinions expressed in these works belong to the student artists and do not necessarily express views of the Holocaust Commission of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.


Senior Visual Arts

1st Place - Senior Visual Arts

Louisa Pengilly

Cape Henry Collegiate


Cut Short

My artwork represents the torture Jewish people had to face during the Holocaust. The roses symbolize the Jewish people's lives that were ‘cut short’ during their times in and outside the camps. The barbed wire holding them captive is forcing them to live in terrifying conditions. I also used the chine-Cole technique to add a Newsletter that was written about Elie Wiesel. I wanted to portray the immense horrors and pay homage to the lives that were lost during the Holocaust.





2nd Place - Senior Visual Arts

Elena Contreras

Contreras Home School


Holding On

I chose to replicate Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of Fraulein Lieser because I like Klimt’s style and that it is brighter than all the other pieces I looked at. This portrait was stolen from Austria. The heirs of the Lieser family know where it is, but the current owners have had it for more than five decades. The piece will go on auction at the Kinsky auction house on April 24, 2024. Both the legal and current owners have arranged this. The blood-like drips represent all the innocent blood that was shed. The white and blue stripes represents the concentration camp uniforms. The whole coat symbolizes the identity the Nazis thrust on Jewish people. The untouched dress and the hand on her heart and dress symbolize her real identity and that she is still holding on to it. The Star of David represents her Jewish identity.




3rd Place - Senior Visual Arts

Petras Malaya

Tallwood High School


Woman in Gold, Reimagined

This painting was inspired by the famous stolen artwork “Woman in Gold”; however, instead of the original woman being Adele Bloch Bauer, I choose Sofka Skipwith. Sofka Skipwith was a Russian princess who had saved 51 Jews trapped in a gas chamber as well as smuggling in supplies. In this version of the painting, I added exactly 51 3d decorations: beads, pearls, and metal pieces. Sofka Skipwith was a princess inside and out, with a heart of gold.




Special Commendation - Senior Visual Arts

Sean Chen

High Bluff Academy 


The Four Olds Uprooted

My painting was about the tumultuous years of China’s Cultural Revolution. The Red Guards tragically destroyed thousands of historic artifacts causing irreparable loss of cultural heritage, to China and the world. The image depicts the Red Guard flaming these arts, showing the rich and diverse cultural history that was wiped out from this big crisis.




Chairs’ Choice - Senior Visual Arts

Alina Ajizada

High Bluff Academy 



The blood tears from her eye symbolize the emotional and physical anguish, the sorrow and pain Afghan women and girls go through. The crying eyes represents the tumultuous journey of women in some societies while the smiling eye reflects the happiness of breaking free from societal constraints. The cut paper covering half of her face represent the loss of identity, how Afghan women and girls’ identities are lost and they should hide one's true self. The missing fingers on her hand represent the loss of freedom and the suppression pulled on girls, not being able to hold a pen, restricted freedom. Nevertheless, she is holding onto the book, meaning that despite all the sorrows, she hopes, seeking enlightenment and empowerment through learning. The chains around represent oppressions and confinements on Afghan girls, while the blue butterflies flying outside the chains symbolize freedom, hope, and transformation, implying a desire for liberation and longing for a better future. Despite the pain and suffering she goes through, she is still smiling, hoping. Conveying the resilience and the inner strength in the face of adversity. This painting would serve as a silent but powerful voice, advocating for awareness on shared struggles of women. This art would be a heartfelt tribute to women who challenge unacceptable norms, fight for their freedom and demonstrate their perseverance. Coming from Afghanistan where women have lost their basic rights, this mural is a heartfelt expression of my yearning desire for change.




Junior Visual Arts

1st Place - Junior Visual Arts

Baylee Yager

Hickory Middle School


No More Me

This piece represents when human rights were violated during the Holocaust and now. It shows a 13 year old girl named Naomi before the Holocaust.  The left side of the canvas shows her glee with a big smile and her beautiful soul through her large brown eyes! But on the right side, it shows her, Barely recognizable, stripped from her name! Strip from HER identity. Stripped from who she was. That is what they did. Who are THEY? The Nazi's. THEY would take your name and in its place was a number, or a much more simpler name for THEM to pronounce. Things like this are still happening today. People taking others names, identities, and hopes.




2nd Place - Junior Visual Arts

Kennedy Yans

Saint Matthew’s Catholic School


Anne Frank’s Interactive House Model

This display accurately depicts the living conditions of the Secret Annex. The secret Annex is where Anne Frank, her family, and many others were forced to hide. The Secret Annex was a small building attached to an office building, hidden by a bookshelf. Because it was near an office building, they were forced to stay silent between 6 A.M. and 8 P.M. for two long years. I chose this topic because it reflects how horrible the living conditions were for people of the Jewish culture during Hitler’s reign.




3rd Place - Junior Visual Arts

Grace Chu

North Oldham Middle School


The Strip of Innocence

This artwork represents my depiction of injustice in the Holocaust and that melancholy feeling whenever I think about it. The female featured in the art has thorns piercing through her heart and eyes, with gold blood streaming around it. The gold blood represents the loss of innocence from experiencing oppression, and the saying, “heart of gold.” The wings symbolize the freedom the woman once had. However, she won’t be able to experience freedom ever again as she is chained up. The chrysanthemum flower on her eye represents death, and the petals flowing away illustrates the slow decay of one. Lastly, the elegant, flowing hair represents the horrifying Holocaust hair industry. The motivation for creating this artwork is to represent the effects power corruption has on an innocent group of people. If we don’t acknowledge the people who died from these tragic incidents, history will undoubtedly repeat itself. 




Special Commendation - Junior Visual Arts

Camilla Cherry

Great Bridge Middle School


Portrait of a Young Woman

I recreated a picture by Leon Wyczółkowski entitled “Portrait of a Young Woman”. It was originally painted with oil on canvas, but in mine, I decided to use charcoal. Since people were thrown out of their normal lives, I wanted to try something new. I have never drawn a portrait fully using charcoal and I must say it was a challenge. I wanted it to be dark to reflect the period and how beautiful things were destroyed during that time. It was stolen under unknown circumstances from the Museum of Warsaw in 1939 and was never returned. The style of the art is quite similar to my own so I was tempted to recreate it to show how some art has not changed over the years.




Chairs’ Choice - Junior Visual Arts

Ashley Laguna

Crestwood Middle School


The Sold Soul

Human Trafficking is a serious topic that no one mentions when I was planning my art piece I thought “What is something that isn’t talked about much or aware about but is a huge deal…Human Trafficking.”. Innocent kids lose the most important part of their life, their childhood, and are forced to grow up. As much as human trafficking is bad what really makes things worse is sex trafficking, innocent kids not even aged 1 get raped for pleasure of others I added a barcode to represent how she is being sold like if she was a item for sale and the hands represent people making a deal to sell the girl, and tape to represent she can’t speak up cause she’s scared what he or she could or would do to her. Human Trafficking can be happening anywhere and anytime be aware, and if you see something say something.