By Aishwarya Manga, FCSN Voices Youth Reporter
Growing up, FCSN student Iris Hu faced a multitude of speaking issues. Her speaking abilities were delayed so when she surprised her family with her first word at seven years old, her mother immediately contacted her teacher to maximize this window of growth with appropriate learning opportunities. However, after numerous discussions, Iris’s learning situation still wasn’t improving. Concerned that Iris’ educational needs were not being met in the school setting, her family chose to turn to homeschooling, and let her attend various outside classes that catered to her interests. This decision enabled Iris to grow tremendously and pursue her deep passion for art.
Iris had always found an interest in art, having started drawing at the age of 2. Her father, Howard, exclaims, “Iris was not limited to just drawing on paper. At one point, she even drew on her stomach using her mom’s lipstick!” It was during homeschooling when Iris was really given the opportunity to integrate her creativity into art. She joined FCSN art classes and was introduced to paints, crafts, and needles. The flexibility in her schedule enabled her to spend more time experimenting with different mediums and develop better attention to detail through books and YouTube videos. With the assistance her parents provided her and the skills she picked up, Iris learned to express herself and her interests through her artwork.
When Iris first began showcasing her art, she was awarded second place for Chinese brush painting during an art contest for Association of Northern California Chinese Schools. This award served as a catalyst for Iris to proceed with her art work and further demonstrate her talent.
Recently, Iris was provided with the opportunity to exhibit her art at the “All Stars Rendezvous, Brighten Up Chinatown Recover” joint exhibition to celebrate the 2021 August Moon Festival. The theme for the show was “The Recovery from COVID-19”, so the committee emphasized the incorporation of colors to capture the difficulties of the pandemic. Using vibrant hues of green and yellow, Iris painted flowers and cacti depicting the vital resilience of natural life in the face of adversity. After seeing her artwork, Iris’s art teacher, Leo Pan, and the principal of Smart Learning Academy, Serene Liao, spurred her to submit her work. Along with 42 other Bay Area artists, Iris’ artwork was featured in the exhibition in San Francisco Chinatown.
Although the pandemic has posed a number of struggles for many, Iris has managed to reach new heights in her artistic career during this past year. With the opportunities provided to her, she will continue to express her individuality and creativity through exquisite artwork, push her artistic boundaries, and showcase her talent to the world.