Solar Eclipse, Rameses Part of ’24 Class Painting

In her artwork, titled “The Memories of Unity,” Tam Le painted diverse graduates surrounding a “Happy Graduation” banner.

An international student from Vietnam depicts diversity and other themes in a piece of artwork she created to celebrate the class of 2024 that will hang in the Student Union for a year.

The six-foot canvas by Tam Le, a senior majoring in biology and minoring in neuroscience and chemistry, is part of a “mural tradition” that began last year to commemorate the senior class with artwork. Le’s painting replaces one by Kate Kerr ’23, who was commissioned to originate artwork for her class last year.

In her artwork, titled “The Memories of Unity,” Le painted diverse graduates surrounding a “Happy Graduation” banner. Her painting also shows students wearing masks, which represents the COVID-19 pandemic, which erupted during the class’s first year; a student wearing solar eclipse glasses, which represents the April 8 eclipse; and a background of red roses, symbolizing “a beginning of a new chapter of life where resilience and unity thrive like red roses on a summer day,” according to a description of the artwork.

“I have a lot of fun memories hanging out with my friends and meeting many people from my freshman year to now, my senior year,” Le said during the unveiling. “I just wanted to highlight all of the beautiful places on campus and the amazing experiences I have had. I hope the class of ’24 enjoys this mural and remembers the fun times of college and our unity as a class.”

Senior Kate Kerr created the 2023 artwork, which leaders titled “The Class of 2023 Experience.”

The mural tradition started last year when former Senior Class President Kartik Tyagi ’23 came up with the idea of each class having a commemorative piece of artwork to hang in the Frank Porter Graham Student Union. The class of 2023 painting will remain in the student union. (See “COVID, Dancers, Rush Part of ’23 Class Painting,” July/August 2023 Review.)

The senior class marshals posted a request for artists on the class of 2024 Instagram account. Senior Class President Lauren Lovett said class officers were impressed by samples of Le’s work and knew she would be able to portray the class’s experiences in her artwork.

“It means a lot to have someone from our class paint the mural because no one else knows what we’ve been through, especially with being the original COVID class,” Lovett said. “Tam being a part of the class she understands that. She knows the transition from being online to now where everything is back to normal.”

Le has painted a mural on a wall inside the Campus Y, and she has originated other artwork on and off campus. She also has an art Instagram account. She said this painting was special to her.

“At first I was a little nervous because the previous one [class of ’23 painting] was really good. I didn’t want to do something lackluster,” Le told the Review. “I was really thinking about what to include in the mural, and I thought about just the memories of what I experienced and wanted to truly represent what the class of ’24 is.”

After graduation, Le plans to take a gap year to apply to dental schools and complete an internship at a clinic.

— Cameron Hayes Fardy ’23

Share via: