Beautiful Uganda-Inspired Oil Painting Puts 18-Year-Old NYC Student in Elite Company at Met Museum

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High School of Art and Design
High School of Art and Design

Cliffannie Forrester is achieving the dream of a lifetime. At just 18 years old, the student from the High School of Art and Design in New York City has her oil painting on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art beginning this month. And that’s not all. Forrester also will have her work displayed in Times Square from June 22 to June 26. Forrester said it will be shown on outdoor digital screens for three minutes every hour with other artwork.

The high school senior’s work, titled Uganda, will be displayed at the Met as part of a collection called P.S. Art 2016: Celebrating the Creative Spirit of NYC Kids. The exhibit began June 14 and will remain at the museum until Oct. 23. Before then, Forrester received a 2016 New York City Scholastic Art Award.

The self-described art and Marvel comic lover first shared the piece in January. She celebrated completing the painting after working on it for a month. The tweet attracted much attention with more than 20,000 likes and 8,300 retweets.

But it was Forrester’s tweet celebrating Uganda‘s display at the Met that blew up over night. In the past 24 hours, the image of the painting in the museum has earned 16,000 retweets and more than 36,000 likes.

The artist described her inspiration for creating the piece on the Met’s website.

“This piece was inspired by a missionary trip I took last summer. When I was creating Uganda I struggled to re-create the color scheme and contrasts from my references. I fused the background with the foreground in cool tones so that references I used appear seamless in the painting. I was pleased with the results. I am appreciative of the skills I thought I never had. I wouldn’t have been able to produce the body of work I have if it wasn’t for [my art teacher Maria Jimenez]. She recognized my abilities and encouraged me to study various artists such as Edgar Degas and Diego Velázquez.”

Jimenez assigned her illustration students to “create a series of thematic artworks for their college portfolios.”

On the website, she praises Forrester’s work saying, “The narrative of this portrait symbolizes innocence and hope. Cliffannie wanted her subject to touch viewers, and make them consider that black lives matter and that little girls matter, in any part of the world. Cliffannie’s powerful message was captured in this compelling composition and because of it, we are all transformed.”

Numerous Twitter users have been congratulating Forrester on her unique achievement.

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