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Chapel Hill High School Visual Artist Wins National Recognition

Chloe Viviers, a student at Chapel Hill High School, was one of five National Awards of Merit winners from North Carolina in the 2021 PTA Reflections competition. Her painting, “My Roots Run Deep,” is an acrylic self-portrait.

“My family and I made a permanent move to the US in January 2019, when I was 15 years old,” Viviers said. “Growing up in South Africa, a land of constant change, prepared me for the transition. My submission for the competition was based on my reflections of why I was able to transition so seamlessly, to a country so vastly different to South Africa. ‘My roots run deep,’ is the answer. I know who I am and what I stand for, and while my roots are transplanted in different soil, my potential to grow is innate.” 

“My submission is a self-portrait painted in acrylics, face turned to the sky, anticipating further growth. My “hair” is in the shape of the baobab tree, a legendary African tree of formidable strength. I included the patterns of the zebra and elephant in my submission. The zebra speaks of family, and the elephant of quiet, majestic strength. I proudly wear an elephant-skin Africa tattooed on my arm with a heart where South Africa is. 

“I also included components of the beautiful crafts seen in South Africa, represented by the wire and beads in the baobab and arm bands, the tribal-esc headdress made from rolled paper and beads, and the weaved twine of the necklace, earrings, and borders. My bodice is a collage of magazine pictures depicting the beautiful sunsets that South Africa is known for." 

"Finally, I painted a picture of a dung beetle that was included in my submission. This insect carries its home wherever it goes. The same applies to me," Viviers said.

“‘I matter because my roots run deep’, is more than a submission for an art contest. It is a visual statement of my intent to contribute positively to my new home. I stand resolute because I honor my origins, and being unique is what will allow me to make a difference. I am proudly South African and graciously American.”