Representing With the Rainbow


Merideth Langton

Wilsee Kollie shares her art created to honor the volume of Black hair.

Anabel Bradley, Writer

The scratch of a colored pencil and the soft swish of paint fill the room as senior Wilsee Kollie begins a new art piece. Her palette is the rainbow. As she works, the colors come together to display three women surrounded by vibrant hues.

After her first art class in elementary school, Kollie embraced this creative outlet. She was mesmerized with the way a pencil could create a masterpiece. She had discovered a new passion.

“I just love … art because it allows you to express your creativity,” said Kollie.

However, in art class, she saw art portraying white people, not people of color. The lack of representation affected Kollie’s creations.

“A lot of times when we learn art … your focus or person … would be another white counterpart, so I would always draw my focus being another white counterpart and I would never draw someone who looked like me because that wasn’t what I learned,” said Kollie.

In high school, she made it her goal to change this. She worked to include the representation in her art she hadn’t seen in class.

“I really want to … showcase minorities, specifically Black people, because that’s not what you learn in the beginning,” Kollie said.

In a world where Black people have to fight to be heard, Kollie learned her art could become a way to express herself.

“Through life, especially as a Black, dark-skinned woman, you are very much silenced so once I started getting into art … it made me continue to find my voice,” said Kollie.

Kollie works to amplify other students’ voices as well. As a leader of the Black Student Union, Kollie helped organize Voices of the Voiceless. She also collaborated with the art department to create a display case for Black students’ art, fulfilling her goal of showcasing minorities.

Kollie will continue to express herself through art after she graduates.

“I am going to continue art and go into writing, but still paint, draw, fashion—all those things. I just love everything that comes with art,” said Kollie.