15 youths from US Midwest win awards at calligraphy, art contest

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Eight-year-old Freya Dou kept dancing and swirling at an award-giving ceremony on Saturday afternoon in the western suburbs of Chicago, even the speech she was selected to give did not dampened her enthusiasm.

She won the First Prize at the 7th Worldwide Chinese Youth Calligraphy and Art Contest, among the 15 prize winners from the U.S. Midwest.

Dou's award-winning painting portrayed the image of the Forbidden City after snow. Against the background color of red, the snow on glazed tile roof is eye-catching.

Dou spent two months in creating the painting. Born in Beijing, she migrated to the United States with her parents at the age of five. But the Summer Palace, the Forbidden City, and the Beihai Park she had toured as a toddler have deeply printed into her mind.

"I liked to draw when I was young. There were always a lot of interesting ideas and patterns in my head, and I want to express them out with brush and color," Dou told Xinhua.

Dou said there is an International Day at her school every year, when students of descents of different nationalities take on different national costumes. "I wear Han clothes to display Chinese culture. I like learning Chinese. I love Chinese culture," Dou said.

Addressing the ceremony, Zheng Zheng, chairwoman of the Chinese American Association of Greater Chicago (CAAGC), said the contest is an opportunity for students of Chinese origin in the United States to enhance their artistic taste and have a better understanding of Chinese culture.

She encouraged young students of Chinese origin to study Chinese, improve Chinese cultural accomplishments and become cultural envoys between China and the United States.

"I want to paint the beautiful things in China and the United States and show them to students in both countries, let them be friends," Dou echoed Zheng's words in her speech.

This was the seventh year for Beijing Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese to organize the worldwide Chinese youth calligraphy and art contest, and the first year for Chicago to host a regional competition in U.S. Midwest for the contest.

According to Sun Yanzhao, president of the Chicago North Shore Chinese Center which organized the art contest in Chicago area, the Chicago division of the contest received paintings and calligraphy works from more than 100 competitors aged from 6 to 17, and 15 competitors won awards at the contest.

Worldwide, the organizing committee of the contest received 1,940 paintings and calligraphy works from 20 countries and regions, and selected 22 for Gold Prize, 60 for Silver Prize, 150 for Copper Prize and 157 for Excellence Prize. 

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