Meimei “Mae” Liu ’20 is an AP Art student who comes to Moreau Catholic from the city of Luzhou, Sichuan province in southwest China. Mae was both nervous and excited about coming to Moreau Catholic. Coming from a small city, she was excited about the many possibilities and opportunities offered by a metropolitan area like the San Francisco Bay Area.
At first, Mae says she spent most of her time talking to international students like herself. She found it hard to communicate because of language barriers and cultural differences. But that changed when she met Olivia Romo ’21. They had Spanish 1 together, so they were both sharing the experience of learning a new language. From that first common experience, their friendship grew and they discovered other similar interests.
Mae and Olivia quickly became close friends: “I think Olivia really changed my life because at the beginning I was sitting with international students all the time and I really didn’t have a chance to talk with other people. She made me be more confident for this Moreau community.” Mae considers Olivia to be one of her best friends, so she knew she wanted to include a portrait of her in her AP Art portfolio.
Mae had studied art for two years in China and was eager to continue refining her skills. She says, “I love art. Every time when I draw something, I feel like I have emotion inside. I can draw whatever I want.” So, as a freshman, she took visual art with Ms. Karen Thomas. Of Ms. Thomas Mae says, “She’s the greatest teacher in the world! I love her so much, I love her outfits, I love her songs, I love how she views other people’s work.” Due to scheduling conflicts, Mae was not able to take an art class in her sophomore year, but Ms. Thomas assured her that she could take AP Art as a junior and senior.
As part of the AP Art experience, students must develop a portfolio of 12 pieces around one topic or theme. Mae chose the theme of “Friends and Family” and decided to draw portraits of her auntie, cousin, mom, boyfriend, her friend and fellow international student Suzy Ji ’19, and, of course, Olivia. Mae’s artistic medium of choice is pencil drawing, though she also enjoys using pen and marker as well.
This black pencil drawing of Mae and Olivia is particularly meaningful to Mae. It was drawn from a photo that she and Olivia took together after a trip to a local shopping mall. Mae recounts the significance of that outing: “That picture is so meaningful. It’s from the first time that I have ever gone out with a local student, to go out to a mall, to go shopping.” Mae loves how the photo and the drawing inspired by it capture their personalities – Olivia a bit more shy and reserved, eyes downcast, while Mae smiles directly at the camera. The drawing, entitled Friends (2019), will be part of Mae’s portfolio submission to the College Board at the end of the year.