Gabrielle Faisal is one truly talented artist. The Detroit nine-year-old recently won a White House Art Contest, unquestionably proving that this is just the beginning of her illustrious art career.
Gabrielle won first place in the White House Historical Association’s National Student Art Competition by telling the story of African-Americans in her drawing.
“I was inspired to paint this picture because of the history I read and learned from my father. The White House is a symbol of America that was built by enslaved African-Americans,” Gabrielle said in her interview.
Gabrielle goes on to explain the symbolism of her art piece.
“The Black hands holding The White House, that means the enslaved Africans built the White House. The white stripes represent the purity of the struggle. The blue means justice, and the white stars represent unity for all people.”
Gabrielle’s father talked to the news outlet as well about his daughter and their history lessons.
“I have a home library filled with books on African-American history, Blacks who were a part of building The White House, so for her when it came time to do art, it was just organic for her,” said her father, Rashid Faisal.
Gabrielle competed with more than 500 nine-year-old students from across the country. Their art work was judged on: originality, interpretation, and historical relevancy. Among the panel of professionals from the art world that judged the children’s are included renowned portrait artist Simmie Knox.
So just what was Gabrielle’s reaction to winning the art contest?
“I was happy,” said Gabrielle Faisal. “I was really happy.”
And of course, her parents were happy for their talented young daughter as well. Gabrielle’s father continues to reflect upon one aspect of her work in particular.
“When I think about the large hands holding The White House, the hands are symbolic of our people, collectively, our history,” Rashid said. “And you have the background with the flag, and that is the unifying factor for all of us as Americans. Black history is not just for African-American people, it is for all people.”