On June 6, two Groton School students accepted the highest recognition given by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, each receiving a national award at a ceremony in New York City’s Carnegie Hall.
Yici Isabel Cai ’21 earned her award in the painting category, for an intricate work inspired by Rosie the Riveter, “We ALL Can Do It.”
Joshua Guo ’20 accepted his award in the film/animation category. His documentary, “The Kingdom of Tea,”
also received the Best in Grade Award.
Isabel created “We ALL Can Do It” as an interpretation of the contemporary feminist movement. “I believe that equality is not about saying that everyone is the same. It’s acknowledging the differences but still accepting and respecting them,” she said. “Feminism can come in many forms; choosing to be a housewife is equally as good as being a businesswoman. It is about giving woman the free choice to be who they truly are.”
Rosie the Riveter, an iconic character representing the women who took over jobs during World War II, is one of six characters in Isabel’s dynamic and colorful painting. Roy Lichtenstein’s pop art inspiring the painting’s style, the artist said.
For “The Kingdom of Tea,” Joshua worked with other students in rural China to document the fading culture of the Bulang Minority. Arriving for a film camp in Mangjing Village in China’s Yunnan Province, near the border with Myanmar, Joshua said he “soon realized that the Bulang Minority were facing a larger issue—they were losing their traditional culture because of globalization and modernization.” Working with the Bulang leader and other members of the community, Joshua and the filmmakers captured the importance of various cultural elements, including music, clothing, holidays, food, language, and, most notably, the local tea.
“We hope that this documentary not only serves to spread awareness about the Bulang and the issue of cultural preservation …” Joshua said, “but also can serve as a resource for the younger generation of the Bulang, a great many of whom cannot speak the Bulang language or sing their songs, to understand how their ancestors once lived.”
Both works of art embody not only beauty, but powerful messages. Congratulations Isabel and Joshua!