15-Year-Old Akilah Johnson Wins the ‘Doodle 4 Google’ Contest With Her ‘Afrocentric Life’ Illustration.
It’s official. Washington, D.C. high school sophomore Akilah Johnson beat out 100,000 participants from all over the United States to be selected as the winner of the eighth annual competition Doodle 4 Google competition. The 15-year-old artist made headlines last month when news spread that she was selected as one of 52 finalists.
Internet users who went to Google.com at any point today were greeted by Akilah’s beautiful artwork, which she created using colored pencils, black crayons and Sharpie markers.
Akilah described the work on Google’s blog:
My goal with my art was to not only turn heads but souls as well—not only for someone to see it and be amazed by it but also to have them understand and connect with it. My drawing explores childhood themes and then moves into reflections on our society. Everything surrounding the word “Google” depicts my characteristics. Of all the things I chose to include, the six most special to me are the Symbol of Life (the ankh), the African continent, where everything began for me and my ancestors, the Eye of Horus, the word “power” drawn in black, the woman’s fist based on one of my favorite artist’s works, and the D.C. flag—because I’m a Washingtonian at heart and I love my city with everything in me!
The teen attended Roots Public Charter School and Roots Activity Learning Center in Northwest Washington, D.C. when she was younger, and credits the school for making her proud of her African heritage.
The school promotes “a strong connection to African heritage, and an Afrocentric lifestyle; we regularly celebrated important African American people and I learned a lot about my history as an African American,” she wrote. “As I grew older, I realized that the black people that came before us have made us into what we are today. So of course I had to include them in my doodle on the theme What makes me…me.”
In addition to having her artwork featured, she also wins a $30,000 college scholarship. Her high school was awarded a $50,000 Google for Education grant.