Every major moment in history deserves an image to remember

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Every significant moment in history — the Spanish Flu, the Great Depression, World War II, Sept. 11th — deserves an image to remember, especially for historians looking back on Chatham County 50 years from now.

During the era of COVID-19, the News + Record is asking you to get creative to help document this moment in time. Feel free to pick up a pen, an iPad stylus, an artist’s brush, a camera or a laptop — the artistic tool of your choice.

Maybe you prefer to sit at the piano and compose a song or stand up and choreograph a new dance step. Shake off the blues with a bout of creativity.

The contest, which will run from Monday, Aug. 3, to Monday, Aug. 24, consists of three themes to fire up your artistic juices: food, heroes and love.

Pick one topic and your medium, or submit an artwork entry in all three categories — it’s your choice. There’s no entry fee or limit on the number of entries you can submit.

The voting process will be two-fold: our team will pick winners in each category, but we will also be inviting our readers to weigh in for the “readers’ favorites” category via social media during the week of Aug. 24. Winners will be announced on Aug. 31 and their masterpieces published in the newspaper, in print and online.

Inspiration behind the contest

For a little inspiration for the first category — food — see Figures 1 and 2. Let’s go back to where the COVID-19 crisis first began, in Wuhan, China.

Chen Yuting, a 26-year-old illustrator, was inspired by a newspaper challenge launched on China’s Facebook, Weibo, to draw something “using hometown food.”

She decided to depict hot dry noodles, a dish that is a staple in Wuhan, as a “patient” in a hospital that contracted the virus.

Chen Yuting depicts Wuhan, which was hardest hit by COVID-19, as the city’s signature dish of hot dry noodles with other provinces as their favorite foods expressing love and concern. The image, submitted to a newspaper contest in China, went viral. The signs read, ‘Hot dry noodles’ and ‘Stay strong.’

For inspiration for the second category — heroes — see Figure 3. Ruby Wang, 13, depicted her idea of a real hero — the doctors and nurses fighting the virus. Wang was a 7th grader who was cooped up with her mom, Lei, and dog, Dora, for 76 days in Wuhan.

Ruby Wang drew this image of China fighting the coronavirus with medical workers for a newspaper contest for kids 3 to 16 years old. Last year, Wang won a prize in a UNESCO online art contest.

For inspiration for the third category — love — see Figure 4. Please meet Tian Yazhou, 51, a teacher in the School of Art at China Three Gorges University in Yichang, Hubei Province. His acrylic artwork, sized 110 x 88 cm, is entitled “2020 Valentine’s Day,” which features a wintry scene with a lone face mask appearing in the painting. 

Tian Yazhou painted this to depict 'ordinary Chinese people’s anxiety and helplessness in responding to the government’s call to isolate themselves at home.' He entitled it '2020 Valentine’s Day.'

The Wuhan art pieces created an internet sensation. Now, it’s time for Chatham County residents to turn the virus into something viral. We are curious to see how they will depict the pandemic’s impact in their hometown, whether it be Siler City or Pittsboro or elsewhere in Chatham.

You can submit your entries via Google Form here: https://forms.gle/XnsQYAXxo11Gzef79

If Google forms are not your thing, just send us a note (cwatkins@chathamnr.com)  and we’ll help you upload your entry.

Watch this space to vote on the finalists during the week of Aug. 24.

Onward, artists! You’re on deadline now — history awaits.

About the judges

The contest is being organized by the same team that led to the donation in May of 1,500 surgical masks, 500 KN95 masks and 400 face shields to 17 of Chatham County’s nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.

Siqi Zhang, the president of the North Carolina Chinese Scholars Sino-US Exchange Association, will help promote the art contest and enlist NCCSEA members as judges along with Buck Ryan, director of the Citizen Kentucky Project on civic engagement.

Zhang is an associate professor and doctoral supervisor in the School of Journalism and Communication at Jilin University in Changchun, China. She is vice director of the Institute of Chinese Culture at her university. At present, she is a visiting scholar at Duke University.

Ryan is an associate professor in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Kentucky. He is conducting a case study of the Chatham News + Record, which he views as a model of success for community newspapers here and abroad.

The pair is joining forces with Caroline Watkins, the News + Record’s digital media fellow, and Bill Horner III, the newspaper’s editor and publisher.



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