A New York City teenager’s work of art is now hanging in the Metropolitan Museum of Art — a sensational achievement, to be sure. And her pithy tweet announcing the feat has gone wildly viral, racking up nearly 40,000 retweets and more than 85,000 likes since she posted it almost a week ago.
Cliffannie Forrester, an 18-year-old from Brooklyn, New York, is one of 89 students in the city whose art was selected to appear in the Met’s P.S. Art 2016: Celebrating the Creative Spirit of New York City Kids. The museum received more than 1,200 submissions.
Forrester spoke to Elle.com about the painting, titled Uganda, and where the inspiration for it came from. “In 2014, I went on a trip to Uganda with my church as part of a missionary trip to help people in need over there,” she explained. “We were going to church and I saw a little girl who was just standing around, admiring everything.” Forrester took a pic of the little girl with her phone. When she got back to New York, Forrester showed her art teacher, Maria Jimenez, the photo. Jimenez suggested trying to paint a portrait of the photo she’d captured. Forrester got started painting, and said the piece took about a month to complete.
“WHO JUST COMPLETED THEIR LIFE GOAL AT AGE 18? ME.” That was the message Forrester posted on Twitter, with a photo of her painting hanging on a wall inside the Met, that got so much attention after the fact. She’s posted a few more tweets since, some marveling at the attention her initial tweet has drawn online.
As for what’s next, once she gets high school graduation out of the way this week, she plans to pursue a career as an artist, which sounds like a smart move given her early success. “Art is important to me because it’s my escape,” Forrester said. “Whenever I feel down, I try to draw, to ease my mind.” And, in another post on Twitter, she vowed to get another work of art shown in the Met again one day.
Read the full story at Elle.com.