Mar 8, 2011

My First Art Competition

This is the ‘other story’.

I was in primary school and my teachers though it would be a great idea if I entered an art competition. At first I thought I was the only one, but it turns out there were several other kids in my school that would also be representing the school. Some of them I knew, because they were my classmates and good friends. I was a straight-as-an-arrow kinda kid. I still am. I had no experience with the real world except for my imagination and the rare outings my parents brought me to. So, being the good little kid that I was, I went along with it.

I don’t remember how old I was, maybe Standard 3 or 4. But I remember telling my parents about it and how supportive they were. They even brought me out to but new colouring materials. I wanted oil pastels but they bought me Panda brand wax crayons. I remember the wonderful smell of those Pandas but I was never tempted to eat them. I was disappointed that I didn’t get the oil pastels but I was determined to do my best.

On competition day, I was there with my mom. My friends and teachers were there. We, the contestants, were all scattered all over the community hall floor, claiming our piece of ‘land’, marking it with colours and paper. When the judges announced the topics, we began to choose one, and started drawing. I remember choosing “My village” because it’s the safest topic and because that’s where I lived. The organizers gave us these plastic corrugated boards to draw on and I thought it was so cool.

Armed with my 12 colour Pandas, I started to colour. So did the other kids. I wasn’t treating it as a competition; I treated it as any other art class, because I don’t really understand what ‘competition’ meant. I was busy colouring, when I began hearing my teachers talking, the same teachers who suggested I enter this competition.

They were going from student to student; talking about drawing they liked the best. They would say that Student A’s work is beautiful and should win, and Student B’s work is very neat and could win at least second prize and so on. I don’t remember what they actually said about mine, but I remember being compared to my best friend and I remember how they cooed over hers. They didn’t look at mine after that.

And I stopped what I was doing. I looked around me. Every one of their drawings had brilliant splashes of colour. They were bright and even had shading and tone. Everywhere around me I saw Buncho oil pastels being used. Sets of 24, of 36, of 48. And I looked at my wax crayon coloring. At that moment I understood what the term “competition” was. I wanted my teachers’ approval; I wanted them to look at my drawing again. I started clutching at straws. I asked to borrow oil pastels from my neighbours. But I knew, deep down, that it was too late.

When the results were announced, I was still hoping to be mentioned. But my name never came up. I was disappointed. The walk to the pickup truck felt so long. I didn’t hear whatever my mother said to me. Probably not much, as is her way. We were quiet in that ride home. All I could think of was how inferior my drawing must have been to the judges, they were probably disgusted by it just like my teachers.

I never entered any art competitions after that, until I entered Form Six. That one had a shorter story; not very interesting.

Did I win?



Naoko said...

Awww. I'm glad you won though! :D

Unknown said...

*blush* aww shucks! XD