Ohio art high school student grabs national attention

FAIRFIELD, Ohio – Art for a high school student here in Ohio is not just a way to express thoughts and feelings, but a way to share important messages that others can relate to.


What would you like to know

  • 17-year-old Anais Fotsing’s move from Belgium to the United States inspired a level of art she had never harnessed before
  • Art has become her way of starting conversations
  • Today, she uses her art to share her experiences as an immigrant
  • Anais won a silver medal in the Ohio Scholastic Art Awards and a bronze medal in the NAACP ACT-SO National Competition

Initially, Anais Fotsing did not imagine that her work would attract as much attention as it did last year.

The Belgian native said she had a book with pre-made models. As a child, she drew using these models and added clothes to them.

When she moved to the United States, she started taking art classes in college, but said that much of what she initially learned was to watch videos on how to draw different things.

Either way, Anaïs said that art has become her outlet.

She said it was a way of expressing myself because “I couldn’t really express myself in school because I didn’t know how to do it in English”.

It also became a way for her to start conversations as people took notice of her work and a way to make friends.

Fast forward to 2021, the Fairfield High School student has grown so much in his craft that his art teacher has noticed.

“The development of her skills and her ability to represent what she is trying to convey. . . I think she really, really improved and did a fantastic job, ”said Tricia Thatcher.

Improvements over time pushed her to create hand-painted sculptures with a message.

It’s a post that tells the high school student’s experience as a first generation immigrant living in the United States, whose family is Cameroonian.

“As a first immigrant student, you cannot connect with your family but at the same time; you can’t really connect with your peers because we haven’t had that experience like you either. So I knew a lot of people would understand that (and) that everything is fine and eventually you will find your way to balance, ”said Anais.

She had no idea that her work and the message behind it would land in the winner’s circle regionally.

“I got the gold and I was super excited,” said Anais.

She won a bronze medal in the NAACP Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics National Competition, also known as ACT-SO.

Since then, she has moved on to other projects with strong messages.

Now that her work is recognized nationally, Anaïs has high hopes.

“Maybe this is something I can do and will actually make changes,” she said.

She hopes to “make change” on a large scale by having her art in museums one day.


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Kayleen C. Rice

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