STOCKBRIDGE -- Visitors to Saturday’s opening for the annual Berkshire County High School Art Show at the Norman Rockwell Museum might notice that a young woman in the crowd looks a lot like a girl in a painting on the wall.
The painting is San-Yung Hung’s acrylic self-portrait.
Hung, 17, is a junior at Miss Hall’s School in Pittsfield, and serves as an intern with the museum’s education department along with two other classmates.
"I have always been a child who loves painting," said Hung. But she said she has only been taking art classes at her school for the past year.
One class project this year was to do a self-portrait of oneself holding a photograph of something that is "significant" to the student.
Like all students featured in the Berkshire County High School Art Show, Hung’s self-portrait has a story behind it. Visitors to the show will have the opportunity to ask the student artists in the exhibition more about their work.
Those speaking with Hung will learn that when given the class assignment to choose a significant photo to pose with, Hung chose a photo of her mother.
"I think my mother is very significant. For me, it’s she who creates me. That’s why I put us together," Hung said.
The photograph Hung holds in the painting is one she took with her mobile phone of her mother leaning out of a glass window of a restaurant in her home country, Taiwan. In the photo, her mother looks youthful, stylish and smiling in a dark green blouse and flowing reddish hair.
Hung holds the photo from its bottom corners, in between her two hands.
Hung made her painting by working from a photo her art teacher took of Hung posing with the photo of her mother.
The student painted herself against a background of bright yellow, making a cheerful contrast to the pink shirt she wears in the portrait. Hung added texture to the painting by creating swirl patterns in the paint with a stick.
At first glance, an observer might wonder why Hung held her mother’s picture in front of her face, so only her eyes show expression through the glasses she wears. Hung says this is intentional.
"The position is a blessing," said Hung, "it is me kissing my mother."
The teenager further explained that she created the painting to be a gift to her mother on her birthday, which is today, a day before the art show.
Since the art exhibition will hang until March 10, the canvas will be sent as a belated birthday present.
"I told her that," Hung said with a light laugh.
The Miss Hall’s student and her classmates will continue their internship with the Norman Rockwell Museum through the spring, but Hung said this is one project that she will always remember.
"I think the students’ works are all creative and thoughtful," said Hung.
"For me, it is really a great honor to be chosen to have art in a real museum. It really encourages me to keep painting, to have that power and enjoyment, and to have confidence," she said.