Thuy West, from Roswell, Georgia will graduate in May 2021 with a BA degree in Fine Art Studio with a focus in painting. Her passion for art goes back until she can remember, as well as her love for teaching. She has taught children, ages 6 to 12, as an art instructor at the Chattahoochee Nature Center, but her goal for the future is to teach using art therapy methods. She has also had the privilege of traveling to Uganda on multiple occasions and interacting with the people in the country. Her experience and interactions with the women and children in Uganda inspired her to create a series of mixed media paintings focusing on the exploitation and progression of life. Her focus on detail and texture captures her artistic abilities to create a story.
My artwork focuses on the exploitation of women, particularly in Uganda. I have traveled to Uganda on multiple occasions and during those trips, I was immersed in the culture and the people I met along the way. It is unfortunate to witness women being taken advantage of because of their vulnerability and are being forced to work in horrid conditions, making next to nothing. Despite these harsh environments, the women that I have met are inspirational because they show so much potential when given the resources and opportunities to become successful. Therefore, I want others to recognize empathy that women gain from the horrid exposure that they endure throughout their lives, while also bringing awareness of their economy and recognize that there is more to women than just forced labor. There can be another way to keep families safe and healthy without the dangerous risks of working.
I believe everyone has a story to be told. For my concept, I created a series of print sketches that represent each stage in a woman’s life in Uganda, starting out as a young child to adulthood. I work in mixed media by using acrylic paint to bring out the details of the individuals so that my artworks show that the women are my main focus. The vibrant colors from the background represent a positive message to show that there can be a better future for these women and their families. Each artwork allows me to express the oppression, labor, and struggles that these women face every day in order to survive and provide for their families, but also express what they can do when given the resources for a better and safer future.