Perpich News

Pasakura Lee (Visual Arts 2023) Earns First Place in 5th Congressional District Art Competition

May 10, 2022

Pasakura (Pasi) Lee (Visual Arts 2023) First Place Winner of the 2022 5th Congressional District Art Competition

Congratulations to junior Pasakura (Pasi) Lee (Visual Arts 2023) for earning first place in the 5th Congressional District Art Competition! This year, Rep. Ilhan Omar received 25 art pieces from seven schools within the 5th Congressional District. The competition is open to all high schoolers who live or attend school in Minnesota’s Fifth District, where Perpich Arts High School is located. In addition to receiving first place, Lee’s piece will be displayed in the US Capitol for one year and she’ll be invited to attend the National Arts Competition Ceremony in D.C.

“It’s very exciting news!” said Lee. “I’m grateful for having been chosen and getting this opportunity. Knowing that my art has reached and will be reaching a wider audience is both comforting and exhilarating at the same time.” Lee is from St. Paul, Minnesota and previously attended Hmong College Prep Academy.

In Pasakura’s artist statement for her piece, The Preparation, she said, “For the past few years I have both lost and found the most interesting things about myself. Like many others, what used to be my ‘normal’ life disappeared when the pandemic hit us. I had to let go of some of the things I treasured most, things I felt largely made up my identity. Titles such as committee organizer, president of the student council, student ambassador, and leader of the robotics business team became just that, titles and labels with no action or purpose because it had been put on hold. I didn’t know who I was without these roles, but I found a silver lining with my art. Being confined to my room allowed me to explore my skills on a more serious level. It helped me loosen up to life and learn to just go with the flow of things. I got to focus more on doing what I want and not on what I felt obligated to do. It made me happy like I’ve never been before, made me want to take more risks and change up the pace of my life. I also came to accept and embrace the clutter of things that I enjoyed but had pushed away in the past because of what others said. I used to be consumed by nerves when anyone asked me about my plans for the future, overwhelmed with the idea that I might just mess it all up if I don’t take all of the right steps. Now spontaneity is my best friend. If the future is coming at me at lightning speed, I feel confident enough to grab the nearest object and tackle it head on.”

Pasakura (Pasi) Lee (Visual Arts 2023) First Place Winning piece, “The Preparation”

Kathryn D’Elia, Visual Arts Instructor, said, “Pasi created her winning piece in my Drawing to Painting class during quarter three of this year. The assignment was to create a self portrait painting that explored their identity, feelings about who they are growing to be, and/or to explore elements of their personality. For many this was their first painting on canvas and was the largest many had made up to that point. Pasi began work on her painting with a lot of energy and tapped into her feelings concerning who she is at this stage in her high school career and what it feels like to think about the future and see possibilities. Stylistically she played with the dark academia aesthetic that she prefers to marry her reality with beautiful visual fantasy space. When the Congressional Art Show team approached us with their theme about new beginnings found through the pandemic, I thought Pasi’s painting was a natural pick. Pasi is a very dedicated young artist and it is wonderful to see her effort and skill recognized on this scale. Well done! And what an honor that an artwork created at Perpich will hang in the U.S. Capitol for a whole year.”

There were three winners for the 2022 competition:

  • 3rd place went to Ethan Paster – 10th grader at Breck School
    • Artwork will be displayed in Rep. Omar’s District Office for 1 year
  • 2nd place went to Isabella Brama – 11th grader at Academy of Holy Angels
    • Artwork will be displayed in Rep. Omar’s D.C. office for 1 year
  • 1st place went to Pasakura Lee – 11th grader at Perpich Center for Arts Education
    • Artwork will be displayed in the US Capitol for 1 year and attend the National Arts Competition Ceremony in D.C.

All of the students will receive a signed participation certificate with their name on it.

Natasha Rice, Community Representative for Rep. Omar, said the congresswoman loved all of the art pieces submitted and thinks that the students are extremely talented. Omar wants to extend her thanks and gratitude for every student who participated.