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Maya Das O’Toole

As a high school student working at Artists for Humanity, I have learned to create art that expresses a message visually. I created this painting, Surroundings, based off a prompt assigned by my mentor. It was meant to embody what my ideal world would look like which I interpreted as a self-portrait. As I worked on the painting I kept the values of self-expression, enthusiasm, and community in my mind. The background uses many of the same colors as the foreground which shows how one’s surroundings shape them as people.

Creating a self-portrait is a very personal thing and as a young artist, I chose to express my style in a way that I felt was reflective of my personality. I channeled parts of my life that have made me who I am, for example, my camp, school, work, neighborhood, family, and friends. I used the inspiration from these people and places and put it on canvas to show how they’ve influenced my personality. I’ve been impacted in ways that have shaped my entire being or on a smaller scale. All the experiences I’ve had living in Boston and gaining my independence as I get older have turned me into the colorful, strong person I am today.

~By Maya Das O’Toole, 16 years old from Boston, Massachusetts

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