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Wakefield HS Senior Charlie Williams’ “Shadows Of Democracy” Wins VA-8 Congressional Art Competition, Will Hang In U.S. Capitol

Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), who represents the Northern Virginia suburbs of the nation’s capital, today announced that Charlie Williams, a senior at Wakefield High School, won the Congressional Art Competition in Virginia’s 8th District with his work “Shadows Of Democracy” (high resolution version here). A panel of art educators from the National Art Education Association chose the digital photograph from dozens of works by Northern Virginia student artists.

Williams wrote, of his picture: “This is a reflection of the U.S. Capitol after a rainstorm. I was able to capture the detail in the Capitol Dome through the puddle and tried to convey the emotions in the image. The photo is not of the Capitol itself, the photo is a mirrored reflection. This was taken just weeks prior to the Capitol riots on January 6th. Thus entitled my photo, ‘Shadows of Democracy’ representing an alternate reality which serves as a premonition of what the government can become if democracy falls.”

“Charlie Williams’ photograph ‘Shadows Of Democracy’ is a haunting and thought-provoking work of art,” said Beyer. “Our nation is still grappling with the worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War, and many of the issues raised by the attack on the Capitol still remain unresolved. I hope ‘Shadows Of Democracy’ will remind my fellow Members of Congress that our nation continues to wrestle with what happened here, and that our votes and actions reverberate through history. I thank Charlie for submitting this incredible picture, and congratulate him and the other young artists who competed in the Congressional Art Competition.”

Williams is the second winner in a row from Wakefield HS, after 2020 winner Kidus Sebil. The Congressional Institute and Architect of the Capitol are expected to announce the timeline and logistics for art display in the Cannon Tunnel soon.