Christina Jiang ’24 has a simple message to share. It is not something she learned in her AP Micro- or Macroeconomics classes, nor during her time conducting independent research on her summers off. It is the title of one of Emily Dickinson’s poems and the inspiration for a collage Christina created of the same name.
“Hope” is the thing with feathers.
This past summer, Christina’s collage raised $1,500 as the theme work for her charity art auction, “Draw for Peace,” to aid Ukrainian child refugees. It “expresses the hope of spreading peace even in places engulfed by warfare” and features a hand-drawn version of The Knotted Gun sculpture, a symbol against violence that stands outside the United Nations in New York City. Through UNICEF, Christina worked with Blair students, faculty and professional artists in the United States and China to gather 34 donated pieces to sell in a hybrid online and in-person auction in New York City.
A selection of professional pieces in the auction were created by famed oil-painter Liu Shuchun, who created a Chinese translation piece of the auction’s title “Draw for Peace.” He captioned the piece with, “It carries the hope of supporting peace through works of art and donations of hope.” Other professional artists included calligrapher Xiaohong Zhu, painter Cong Zhang and calligrapher Xinren Wang. Christina herself donated many of her own pieces, including charcoal drawings, sketches and Monet recreations. Fellow Blair students donated artwork as well, with encouragement from Christina and her advisor, fine arts teacher and Director of Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Evan Thomas.
“Christina made the whole thing happen on her own,” Mr. Thomas said proudly, “but the thing that impressed me most was how she supported other artists to contribute to the cause. It was a powerful and beautiful display of community.”
Fine arts department chair Kate Sykes saw the auction as an opportunity to give a higher purpose to some high-quality pottery pieces students had left in her studio over the years. Along with pottery donated by Rosy Sun ’23, Sophia Papadopoulo ’22 and Tate Leonardo ’22, Mrs. Sykes contributed students’ plates, vases and bowls to complete the collection and aid Christina’s philanthropic efforts.
“I’m glad the talents of our art students went to serve a greater good,” said Mrs. Sykes.
Christina started the project back in March, slowly gathering the pieces for the collection she carefully curated. Her passion for art expressed itself in the form of 17 of her own pieces in the auction. Her painting “Apples” was cut and bound back together, a process she says symbolizes “not only the violence that tears us apart, but also the hope that threads us back together.”
By the end of the auction in August, Christina had raised more than $14,000 to support the U.S. fund for UNICEF.