The Cheyenne River Youth Project has announced the three winners of its “Cheyenne River Fights Covid-19” Art Contest. The youth art contest took place in May.
Tusweca Mendoza, 14, won first place and a cash award of $300. Angel Benson came in second with a cash award of $200. And Mahpiya Eagle Hunter, 8, was third with a cash award of $100.
The judges recognized these three young artists based on their creativity/originality, connection to the theme, and artistic skills. They were allowed to create their work in any medium.
According to Tyler Read, CRYP’s art director, the CRYP team created the contest to give the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation’s young people an opportunity to share how they, their families, and their community are fighting Covid-19 — both physically and spiritually, and otherwise. He said they instructed the artists to search their imaginations and explore their own voices, because their unique perspectives matter.
“We wanted them to consider what it looks like to fight an invisible enemy, and to keep both body and spirit well while facing that enemy. We encouraged them to reflect on the importance of their Lakota culture during such a challenging time, and consider how the strength of their ancestors could help them in this fight,” Read said.
“They did all of that, 100 percent,” observed Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “Our kids are the future of Cheyenne River. They know who they are, they’re proud of who they are, and they’re ready to show the world how we do things in the heart of the Lakota Nation.”