Berks Best 2022 Visual Arts Winner Daniel Danmaiha

To create a pen and ink drawing for Bà Nà Hills’ Golden Bridge in Da Nang, Vietnam, Daniel Boone’s senior Daniel Danmaiha struggled to draw small individual lines that form value and contrast through a process called hatching. I did.

What emerged is an impressive rendering of the landmarks. Its hallmark is the giant carved hands that support the bridge, and according to Dani, it represents the devout presence that supports the bridge as a gift of nature.

This painting is the perfect metaphor for Dani’s life. She is one of the reasons she has built a bridge between culture, race and generation, taking a step-by-step step and earning Burke’s Best 2022 title in visual arts.

“Most of my work is influenced by my Asian-American identity, which is drawn from my struggles to match it and only balances it,” said 17-year-old Dani. .. “It was a little difficult to find my identity. Many of them are used to influence my work and the way I see things.”

Her influences range from Gen Z upbringing as a child born in the United States to Vietnamese immigrants and the black feminist activist Angela Davis, a symbol of Boomer counterculture in the late 1960s.

“It’s tied to social justice and seeing the inequality we see today,” Dani said. “What inspired me about Davis’ work was how she sees it through the feminist framework, and especially the inequality between men and women, and the racist whites and blacks. And how she talks about social inequality among Asian Americans. Similarly. I admire how she writes and assembles her thoughts. “

As happened in many of her generations, the pandemic forced Dani to look into her life and goals.

“It was hard for me to grow up as a Vietnamese-American,” she said. “I didn’t fit my body because of the appearance and the food I ate. I grew up speaking Vietnamese, so from an early age I tried to suppress some of my culture and ethnicity to make it fit for me. I was there. “

The pandemic life of the last two years has changed her and built a new bridge.

“After the pandemic, I realized that I needed to stay more loyal to myself, and it’s more open to understanding where my roots are and what my mother’s culture is. “She said. “It was difficult for me to agree with it. It inspired me to look at other perspectives like the black experience in America, see Latina’s experience, and get all those perspectives. Encouraged me to learn more about their lives and their struggles. “

Dani emerged from her school activities and the experience of a pandemic that was more determined to play a leading role in her activities.

“Raising their voice was one of my very priorities in my work,” she said. “I don’t call myself an activist because I’m still a student and haven’t done much yet, but when I go to college I’ll be more involved in the community.”

In her letter of recommendation to Berks’ best judge, Daniel Boone’s art teacher Emily Cornish emphasizes Daniel’s leadership role in school.

“Dani is the founding co-chairman of our art club,” she writes. “Dani takes leadership through initiatives, organization and hands-on work within the art club. Dani is also the Vice President of our Social Justice Club / Cultural Awareness Club for Everyone. Works every day to create a more inclusive and safe school for students. “

Dani’s plans include the School of Visual Arts College in New York City, where she studies animation. Her dream job after graduation will be working at Pixar.

“Recently, they have released more representative films like’My Occasionally Lesser'(a film about the adolescent experience of Asian Americans),” she said.

And continue her work of building a bridge.

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