Plainview High School’s Aamina Yousaf says she has never won — nor placed — in an art contest.
That’s why when she received a call from a staff member of Rep. Tom Cole, Oklahoma Republican, she was very surprised.
“I just started screaming,” Yousaf recalls of the phone call a few weeks ago. “I still can’t believe I won.”
Yousaf, a sophomore at Plainview, is this year’s winner of the Congressional Art Competition for the Fourth District of Oklahoma. Her charcoal drawing titled “Eagles” was named the top place in the annual art contest with a prize of having the artwork displayed for a year in the Cannon Tunnel of the U.S. Capitol.
“Eagles” currently awaits being framed and shipped to the nation’s capital city. Yousaf and her father are also awaiting a trip to Washington, D.C. As a winner, she has received complimentary airfare for two from Southwest Airlines to travel to Washington, D.C. for the reception and award presentation, scheduled for the end of June.
Yousaf said she never thought she would win the contest, which her art teacher, Brenda Fisher, told her and other students about in March.
The student said thinking a selected art piece would represent Oklahoma, she visited the school’s library in hopes of finding an image representing the Sooner state that would inspire her for the contest. In her search, she came across an image of an eagle, looking up to the sky.
Over the course of a week-and-a-half, Yousaf drew three eagles with charcoal to create the piece. Charcoal is one of the oldest art mediums, and produces rich black and white drawings.
Yousaf said it was only her third time using charcoal as a medium.
“When I did this, I was having a bad week,” Yousaf said Thursday, glancing at the piece. “When I was working on this I could relax, and that helped a lot.”
The Ardmore resident says she got her knack for art appreciation early and hopes to continue to pursue art as a hobby. Her ultimate goal is to study medicine and become a physician.
“When I was little, I loved to draw,” Yousaf said. “Once I could start taking art classes, I did. Next year, I can’t because I am taking bio-tech.”
Yousaf, the daughter of Muhammed Yousaf and Azra Perveen, says she is looking forward to the trip to Washington, D.C. this summer. She hopes to arrive with some extra days available for sightseeing. It will be her first time in Washington, D.C.
“I really loved creating this,” Yousaf said with a smile. “I had so much fun and I didn’t think I would ever win.”
In a released statement, the congressman said he was impressed by Yousaf’s work, which was selected by a panel of art and culture experts. Yousaf competed against high school artists from throughout the south-central area of the state.
“I am honored to congratulate Aamina Yousaf on her artistic achievement,” Cole said in a written statement. “Her impressively detailed masterpiece highlights the beauty and strength of the eagle. We are very fortunate to have her piece represent and showcase the talent of the Fourth District of Oklahoma for all visitors of the Capitol to admire.”