For the first seven years of her life, Yibing Zhang lived with her grandparents in Weihei, China while her parents were studying in Germany. “I always knew that the plan was for me to join my parents in the United States. My grandparents taught me to speak and read and write in Mandarin and I still call them every week. I visited them after sixth grade and I’ll visit again when I graduate this year.” Yibing’s double portrait in colored pencil in Diana Hemsley’s Dos Pueblos class, shows a finely detailed drawing of her grandmother’s face on one side. A red scarf flows and turns into petals that cross a gap to the portrait of Yibing as a little girl on the other side. “When we first came here I was crying every day. I wrote a letter to my Lao-Lao but I didn’t mail it.” That letter is written in Mandarin behind the portrait of the grandmother and again in English behind the portrait of Yibing. Her grandmother will finally receive the letter when Yibing mails her the double portrait after the exhibit.
SANTA BARBARA ASSOCIATION BEST OF SHOW AWARD recipient.
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