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Kristina

Gwenn Seemel
Raha the Riveter (German-Iranian-American, Kristina)
2008
acrylic on canvas
41 x 38 inches

I’ve always loved painting hair. Straight or curly, dark or light, short or long, punk style or more traditional, it doesn’t matter. I love it all. And that makes it a challenge for me to make paintings like Raha the Riveter.

To learn more about the making of Kristina’s portrait, please visit this article on my blog. And below please find the subject’s answer to this question: what does it mean to be an American?

To some people, being American is best represented by hot dog, baseball and Elvis. As an 8 year old in Washington D.C., I knew what it meant to be American. On a family vacation, we visited the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.  While the flag was revealed, the Star Spangled Banner played in the background. I was filled with an overwhelming sense of belonging and pride. The people who founded and fought for what the United States represents were just like me and my family. They were immigrants. They were scared, but persevered in the face of adversity. They were proud, loyal and believed they had a chance to make something better of both themselves and this country. As we walked away, I turned to my mother with tears in my eyes and told her I was proud to be an American. While I am still proud when it comes to the ideals upon which this nation was founded, I may have lost some faith in its people and government to protect them at all costs. I may be less sure about what it means to be American, but like all Americans, I continue to hope that a better future is still within our grasp.

- Kristina