Senior wins first place award at Johns Hopkins University for her artwork

Winning art piece by Raheel Raad called

Winning art piece by Raheel Raad called "Revealing."

Chase Deist, Brennan Guilds, and Lenox Kamara

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For artists, the idea of recognition of their talent within their lifetimes trumps most other feelings. But for senior Raheel Raad, this dream came true at the Johns Hopkins University “Grab Bag” art show, where her art piece won first place.

On February 4, the day of the reception, students from all around Montgomery County gathered to participate in the Johns Hopkins University art show. For the tenth anniversary of the show, they paid tribute to the past with a “grab bag.”

Every year a theme is set for the artists to follow, but this year they took all the themes from the past years and schools randomly were assigned one of those themes. For Watkins Mill, artists were assigned the theme of “secrets.”

This year, four Watkins Mill High School students attended the show: seniors Zarin Baksh, Anona Orban, Misha Tungpalan and Raad. “Last year we got an honorable mention but this year we actually got first place,” Baksh said.

“I started off with what a physical secret might look like,” Raad said of her piece that won the overall first-place prize. “I was thinking of human trafficking and the victims themselves as being [the] secrets.”

I was thinking of human trafficking and the victims themselves as being [the] secrets.”

Raad’s meaningful art piece won over other pieces from 16 other Montgomery County schools and 188 submitted works, a huge step up from our performance last year.

“Revealing” shows a woman with her organs open, being constricted by yellow caution tape. “[The caution tape] was suffocating her voice,” Raad said, “further making her the epitome of a secret.”

Raad’s implementation of a cultural and societal problem gave her an edge over the competition. “I thought it was a smart thing to bring out… a current issue,” art teacher Limor Dekel said. “I think that is one of the contributing factors to her winning.“

“There are more slaves today than there have ever been in the history of the world,” Freedom Movement Club sponsor Lois Parris said. “I think [the painting is] great. It’s a way of getting the message [of human trafficking] out there.”

There are more slaves today than there have ever been in the history of the world”

According to Dosomething.org, a website whose goal is promoting societal change, there are approximately 20 to 30 million slaves in the world today, with the average cost of a slave being $90.

“She’s done a beautiful job [portraying] what a lot of victims feel like,” Parris said. “Not only have they been exposed, they’ve been violated in a horrible way.” The median age of victims of human trafficking is only 12 years old.

With all the praise Raad is staying humble, “I did not expect to win… there was so many good pieces, Raad said, “[but] I’m proud of [mine].”

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