A Portrait of Patriotism

Rep. Gil Cisneros (D-Fullerton) recognizes Maille Uyehara, winner of the 39th Congressional District Art Competition, on May 3.

Maille Uyehara was awarded first place on May 3 in the 39th Congressional District Art Competition for her depiction of a tender moment between an elderly Nisei veteran and his young grandson.

She is currently a senior at Glen A. Wilson High School in Hacienda Heights.

Uyehara was a member of the Yonsei 22 basketball team and said meeting Nisei veterans was an inspiration for the painting entitled “Go For Broke.” Among her influences are the works of early 20th-century illustrators Norman Rockwell and JC Leyendecker. Working in acrylics, she said she was trying to convey a nostalgic feel as the young boy looks at his grandfather’s Purple Heart medal.

She has been drawing since she was five, but only began painting four years ago in high school.

“I wanted to create a piece that combined these elements but related to me. So I decided to create a piece on the 442nd Regimental Combat Unit because their patriotic heroism is a story that often goes unrecognized,” Uyehara said. “I have met some of these incredible individuals while volunteering as a Yonsei Basketball player. Their story inspired me and encapsulated everything that makes me proud to be a Japanese American.