As a writer and publisher, I was excited to recently rediscover my passionate interest in creating and supporting visual art. The pandemic has had many terrible impacts on our lives, but one positive impact it had for me was getting me more engaged in my own love for art. During the extended times many of us have been spending socially distancing, I began to paint, first doing portraits of African Americans, and then moving on to still life paintings and impressionistic landscapes.
In an effort to support women and LGBT+ artists, we launched our first art contest recently. The theme for the contest was “About Women” and we received more than 100 entries of some stunning and moving visual art pieces. There were 185 votes on the entries, and the winners were chosen by public vote, so popularity was more of a factor, as opposed to a contest that is judged by a jury of artists.
In a year when Kamala Harris has been nominated to the Democratic ticket for the U.S., the winners for our contest all have one interesting thing in common: they all depict women of color. Another interesting fact about our winners: they all hail from countries other than the U.S., suggesting that we are indeed becoming a more global community every day.
It is a wonderful feeling to award our small cash prizes to these three global women, and to exhibit their work on Philanthropy Women to help bolster their vision and talent.
First Prize Winner: Dr. Sheena A.D.
Dr. Sheena A.D. is trained with a Doctorate in civil engineering from Anna University in Chennai, India. She works as a faculty teacher in civil engineering in Chennai and also has a deep love for painting. Sheena A. D. describes herself as “passionate about motivating the younger generation both in academics and molding creativity in their career growth.” In a comment on her painting responding to friends congratulating her for the About Women award, Sheena A.D. wrote: “A girl is a blessed one for this world! She is an active, energetic, positive candle giving glowing lights to the family and society, and being humble wherever she walks.”
Sheena’s painting entitled, “A Girl Image: An Attempt” is our First Place winner.
Rukundo Epaphrodite is a Rwandan artist who studied Fine Arts at Ecole d’art de Nyundo from 2000-2002. She is currently living in Musanze, Rwanda, and is continuing on her journey as an artist. Her painting entitled Praying Woman received our Second Place Prize.
Third Place Winner: Eva Lechner
Eva Lechner is an award-winning professional photographer living in Werl, Germany. She started photographing when she was 12 years old and has a lifelong passion for the art ever since. About her work, she says, “I love to spend my days in nature enjoying life’s most serene and peaceful moments, whether it be landscapes, watching birds and wildlife, or experiencing the beauty of a simple flower.” In the last ten years, Eva has published her photos and artwork in local newspapers, and has a full array of photographs and artwork available on Fine Art America. Her photograph entitled “Street Vendor” is our Third Place Winner.